Owner of Perth Glory Tony Sage has come out today stating that he will relinquish control of the A League club at the end of this season. The trouble is rather than have fans in shock and pleading for him to stay there is very much a feeling of déjà vu about his comments.They have heard it all before, and several times over.
“This will be my last season in charge of Perth Glory. I just can’t sit there and cop abuse and my family cop abuse. No one is really interested in coming to Perth Glory games and the fans don’t want me to be in control. That was made very clear to me last night by a lot of people.” Mr. Sage is quoted as saying in the West Australian newspaper.
The sad thing is the Perth public should be grateful for Mr. Sage ploughing millions of dollars into the club and ensuring that Western Australia has a team in the national competition, but the sad thing is that respect and gratitude has been eroded over the past twelve months.
The Hatt review was supposed to be the dawn of a new era at the club, but despite a great deal of rhetoric as to how things would change, nothing really did. It now looks like nothing more than a vehicle to remove staff that were no longer wanted.
Mr. Sage has enjoyed being the figurehead of a major sporting club in Australia. He has enjoyed the attention that it has granted him, he has taken almost every opportunity to share the limelight with the athletes that he employs to perform for his club, but he has sadly never understood that this is not the type of owner football fans want or respect.
His knowledge of football is limited to say the least, and therefore he should have been advised to stay in the shadows more than he has.
There is no doubt that he does not warrant the abuse he claims he received after the game on the weekend, especially after the keeping the club afloat, his family certainly doesn’t. That said if you choose to fly close to the bright lights you run the risk of getting burnt.
The big question is will a new owner be found? There are some who believe that Mr. Sage’s comments have been timed so that people will ask him to stay and save the club, to not leave, and when he reverses his decision there will be a wave of positive publicity and he will be painted as the hero.
The seven thousand loyal fans that turn up each week may feel very differently. The thousands who have opted to stay away, some because they say the club is no longer about the football, but about publicity for Mr. Sage may also feel the time is ripe for a change.