With the old NSL on its last legs and as Editor of “The Fat” we conducted a survey of all the NSL Coaches as to who they regarded as the Champions, the Grand Final Winner or the team that ended top of the League. Every single coach with the exception of Adelaide City’s Zoran Matic stated that the team that came top of the league was the true champion. Why would Zoran Matic feel differently? Adelaide having made the Grand Final in four successive seasons and winning it twice without ever winning the league. The closest they came was second by a point in1994/95.
No doubt you are wondering what relevance this information has at this point in time. Following the McInerney Ford Gold Medal awards we received an email from a member of the local Football community asking how many times during outgoing coach Graham Normanton’s twelve year reign as Coach, did Perth Soccer Club win the league. They also asked if maybe this was why he was so passionate about the finals series and being named Champions.
So we delved into the record books to find out. We must first of all point out that the format has changed over the years, in 1998 we had a “Championship decider,” from 1999-2004 we had a “Champion of Champions” or “Top 5 Cup” as it was known, and from 2005-2007, there were no finals competitions. In 2008 it was re-introduced as a “Top Four Cup” and in 2009 it became once again the “Championship Decider.”
For the sake of looking at Perth’s fantastic ability to peak at the end of the season we are going to imagine that all of these end of season competitions were finals series.
If we do this Perth has won seven such competitions in the 12 year period we are looking at, a truly outstanding effort. Yet on only three occasions have the topped the league ladder. It is worth noting that on one of these occasions there was no finals series (2005), and on the other two occasions that they won the league, they also won the finals series.
No matter how you look at it, it is an incredible achievement to have won seven finals series out of nine held in a twelve year period.