On October 13th the Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Cockerill published a story stating that Perth Glory owner Tony Sage was prepared to let his three returning Socceroos miss the finals series, if it meantthat they go to the World Cup.
In other words he was prepared to let the three players Chris Coyne, Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski sign for clubs elsewhere on loan so that they could continue playing up until May to maintain match fitness for national coach Pim Verbeek. All of this because the FFA chose not to start the season later in a world Cup year meaning a later finish which would have meant that no players would have had to go anywhere.
It is our belief, which was not clear in the article, that owner Sage wanted some form of indication on the players chances of making the final squad for South Africa from the national coach, before he let all three leave Perth Glory. This is unlikely to be the case, although the announcement today of Pim Verbeek’s squad for the game against Kuwait may have given some indication.
Either way it is interesting to look at some of the facts before and since that revelation.
Before October 13th Perth Glory had played nine games and were sitting in equal second place. Nine games after the announcement they find themselves sitting 7th in the league.
The weekend before the announcement they had just beaten Adelaide United at home, a team that they had only beaten twice in 13 games, a team they had only beaten once at home before in six attempts. This was a watershed moment and many believed the team would kick on from here, especially the fans. Their record stood at played nine, won five, Drawn one and lost three.
Then the bombshell landed on Tuesday morning.
Since this revelation, the club have won just one game in their last nine outings, drawn three and lost five.
You can make a direct comparison, as in both sets of nine games the Glory played five games away and four at home.
This may not have had any bearing on the mindset of the players, but it does seem to be a coincidence that their form has dipped following this announcement.
The Perth Glory need to get back to winning ways and those players who wish to be a part of the Socceroos need to start showing more leadership on the park. Follow the advice of one coach to a young lad at a trial game, you will always achieve more as an individual if you play for the team rather than for yourself, and your performances will stand out. They are not the only ones who need to lift a gear, as other senior players have dropped their standards too.
It would be interesting to know what affect this article had in the dressing room amongst squad members who were unaware of the possibility of an end of season exodus.
It appears the timing could not have been worse as it took the momentum out of the season. Now players and coaching staff have to find that momentum and belief again.