There are ways to do things properly and then there are the ways that Perth Glory does things.
The constant frustration amongst fans, members and sponsors is the fact that Perth Glory football club continually takes the wrong option. Once again just as the embarrassment of the past few days looked to have been put to bed the club manages to once again outdo itself.
After four days of complete silence following the dressing room bust up between senior players and coaches Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven the club called a press conference to confirm that Alistair Edwards was no longer employed by the club. CEO Jason Brewer was very careful with his wording neither saying that Edwards had been fired or that he had resigned, simply that he had said that he could not operate under the conditions put forward by the board – which is believed to have included him justifying his team selections – and therefore had left the club.
Brewer handled a barrage of questions well and conceded that hindsight was a wonderful thing and with hindsight the club may well have done things differently, but they had not seen events coming to a head so suddenly.
The press conference as one would expect was a longer than normal affair and Brewer was measured in his answers and avoided taking sides in a dispute that not only split the club, but appears to have divided fans.
It appeared it was time to move forward and everyone prepared themselves for the appointment in the next few days of former assistant coach Kenny Lowe, as interim coach at the club. Ironic that the club should go knocking when Lowe was upset at being overlooked for the position of head coach when Dave Mitchell became director of football. The previous CEO had allegedly assured him of the position. Ian Ferguson took over the reins and Lowe resigned. He is however the ideal replacement at this point in time to carry on the development of the young talented players that Edwards signed. Having also played professionally in England he has always had the respect of the players for his tactical nous.
Then SBS journalist David Lewis picks up the phone and calls the owner of the club, Tony Sage. Instead of uttering the words “No comment” or telling Lewis that the CEO has spoken on behalf of the club, he once again cannot turn down the chance for his moment in the spotlight, but that moment has turned Edwards departure into a far less dignified affair.
Sage is quote as saying “I had got Jacob to apologise for his outburst at the coach, against his better judgement, and I thought we had a resolution and could move on, and, frankly, I couldn’t believe it when I then received a message and then a letter from Alistair demanding that Jacob have his contract cancelled, or if not that, have the armband taken off him. Those were his terms.”
“The board was not willing to accept that demand. We are not in the business of switching captains mid-season, especially when the two names put forward by Alistair to replace Jacob would not have taken the job because they support Jacob’s position at the club.” He continued. “We were left with no option as a result of the coach’s demands but to terminate his contract and we hope to have an interim coach in place for Sunday’s game against Adelaide United. We don’t feel his stance left us with any other viable alternative.”
Brewer had been careful to leave those discussions behind boardroom doors so that the outgoing coach could depart with some dignity. In one interview Tony Sage once again undid that good work.
In the same article he went on to leave fans in no doubt as to what had transpired, “People have said it’s been all about him signing and picking his sons ahead of others but it’s also been about how he relates to the players, and yes, the fact that he has consistently used Cameron off the bench ahead of others, it’s also been why certain players have been taken off in matches. There has been significant disharmony there and questions asked.”
This is not the first time Mr Sage has opened his mouth to make a situation worse. Neither is it the first time that he has hung a former employee out to dry. As the owner some may say he is entitled to do so, but it is a very unsophisticated way to behave. It does not reflect well on the club he claims he loves. It also embarrasses and annoys the fans.
One has to wonder why he employs a CEO if he is always going to speak out himself. Tony Sage took over the club in 2007, and based on past events is not surprisingly now on his fifth CEO; although two incumbents have held an acting role. Edwards becomes the fourth coach to be shown the door in that same time frame. With those records one wonders why anyone would take on either role, but people will, because this is football.
It would however be nice if the owner let those he employed to do a job be the only ones to comment at such times, and let them actually do the jobs he pays them to do.