Perth Glory today to revealed their four year strategy as a club, and by all accounts there are some lofty goals. Nothing wrong with that, as the saying goes “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land amongst the stars.”
Needless to say there is some cynicism amongst fans as this will be the fourth such plan that the fans have been told about, having had previous CEOs Paul Kelly and Jason Brewer reveal their plans for the club and also former coach Alistair Edwards.
This illustrates a key issue and that is that the person who has put the “vision” together needs to be given the chance to see it through.
Perth Glory interestingly employed the Strategic Intelligence Group to compile a survey into the club from which they could garner information that could help them compile their strategy for the club.
Questions such as “How important are the following Player and Talent Development initiatives and actions?
The Talent Pathway Program (juniors, npl, etc.)
Identifying and Recruiting Marquee Players
List Management (including player retention)
Seeking Opportunities for International Transfers”
“In the context of what is important to the sustained success of Perth Glory FC, please rank each of the following in order from most important to least important for both the short term (in the next 12 months) and the long term (in the next 3 years).
Rank each item from 1 to 4, with 1 being the most important and 4 being the least important, for both the short and long term.
Overall PGFC Football Philosophy
Player and Talent Development
On-field Strategy For Each Team
This survey throws up the question as to whether the four year strategy is skewed to suit the majority of responses or whether the club had a clear decision on the path it feels it wants to head, and will stick to that, but be wary of the views of those surveyed. Hopefully it will be the latter.
According to the West Australian “One of Glory’s principle ambitions will be identifying a new administrative and training headquarters within the next 12 months before completing the move the following year.”
This has been bouncing around for a number of years now. When Ron Smith and David Mitchell were coaching the Glory so good was the relationship with UWA and the club training at McGillvray Oval that the University had offered to build a facility for the club there. Yet the club did not commit. Then in 2011 when the Hatt Review came out it was suggested that the club should move to Curtin University. This never happened. Under Paul Kelly it was going to be an agreement between the club and Inglewood united that would see the NPL side develop its club rooms and become a training base for all Perth Glory sides. Under Jason Brewer in October 2014 it was announced “a new alliance with the City of Joondalup, aimed at establishing a dedicated high performance training and administration centre at Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig.” Yet this now appears to have also stalled.
While these announcements have been made Football West has been stating that if, and when, it manages to build a “Home of Football” Perth Glory will be a tenant. The plan being that Perth Glory will rent office space from the state body and will use the pitches for training. This is a move that makes perfect sense, but understandably the A-League club cannot continue to wait for this to happen. After all the campaign for a centralised home for the game started in 2013, and has been taking small steps with Football West appointing Davis Langdon Australia in April 2014 to prepare a business case.
Unfortunately many believe the economic downturn and Football West purchasing new offices last year rather than waiting for Government help may well have seen this project be pushed further back in the pecking order in terms of state funding. Therefore Perth Glory are wise to try and plough on alone.
The club is right to be ambitious and many of the goals listed are to be expected, such as winning a first A-League title within the next four seasons, becoming Champions of Asia within six years. It is always good to set such goals and often these ambitions attract players, which can ultimately be the difference between achieving them or falling short.
A decision to play attractive fixtures at the new Perth Stadium is another bold move. One feels that there may be a trade off in the offing with the Government prepared to assist in terms of funding a training facility if Perth Glory agrees to play a few games at the stadium. This will be a big risk for the club as the atmosphere will be diminished in such a huge venue even if they manage to attract 25-30,000 fans. The big question will be what viewing is like when the stadium is completed and also how close to the action fans feel they are. NIB Stadium is now a magnificent venue for rectangular sport, and the last thing football needs is to go back to playing at stadia that see the fans a long way from the action.
The club continues to insist that it has has over 7000 members, and as is repeatedly pointed out these “members” are measured in the same was as other sports, not by who has bought a season ticket for the whole season, but by those who have bought one of the many “membership packages.” It would be interesting to know how many have bought more than one of these “packages” as they are after all really just ticketing deals. One feels that if the club is going to achieve the goals it has set in terms of fans coming through the turnstiles it needs to be more honest about true members and how many free tickets are given away so that the real support base is clear; this goes for all clubs in all sports, as the distorting of these figures is in fact causing headaches in terms of the true profitability of various sports.
From what has been revealed today the goals are what were to be expected, many of them have been heard before. The key is whether the man who has compiled the Strategy, CEO Peter Filopoulos, will be allowed to see it through, and more importantly the coaching staff. There is no doubt Kenny Lowe now has the team playing well and achieving results, which is a key component, if he can deliver a Championship in the next year then many of the other targets may be achieved. If he can’t and is moved on it may be a case of starting all over again, something that really is The Perth Glory Way. Then again with the mining industry in a downturn, both the coach and the CEO may in fact outlast the owner.