Perth Glory have invited David Hatt in-house for a 12 week period to look at all aspects of the club, to find out whether the current structure is right, and to highlight areas where the club could be more professional and effective off the park.
Chief Executive Officer Paul Kelly was quoted in the media as saying “We know we are not doing things right. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it so we can prepare for next season.”
There are several issues that concern those outside the club looking in. Firstly, who is the man at the helm of the club? There appear to be too many chiefs, and the problem currently is they all are giving mixed messages to the staff, the players, the fans and the media. There appears to be no cohesive strategy, or if there is it has not been communicated to all.
Football is political in Australia whether the fans like it or not, and so to bring in an outsider such as Mr Hatt is a wise move, however football is a different beast from the sports that he has been involved in such as AFL and Hockey. There are definitely areas of similarity, but there are also areas of huge difference. Therefore it is hoped that as part of this review he will visit a club such as Melbourne Victory and analyse why they have been consistently successful, while the Glory have not.
Staff at the club are already disappointed that they have not been asked by Mr Hatt for their input, as his time draws to an end; his report is supposed to be completed by February. Frequently those at the coalface are the best placed to see basic mistakes that are being made, but in many businesses are rarely asked for their input. Perth Glory have some excellent employees who work under very difficult conditions, – imagine having to vacate your office every time another event is on at the stadium!- and their voices should be heard. To add to the difficult working conditions, you have the staff split between AK Reserve and NIB Stadium, which cannot be the easiest environment in which to work effectively.
If Mr Hatt puts forward suggestions for structural change, for example making sure that all staff are located in one place, the big question is will the powers that be implement his suggestions? That could be the key to laying strong foundations for a more consistent future. Whatever the outcome, short term goals will continue to hurt the club. A plan must be put in place and all the goals set realistic. The coach must be given security and no more of these one year deals is one obvious area where we need to see change.
As stated before on this site, the future has to be planned for. Part of that planning must be to ensure that the club develops as many local players as they can to step up and play for the club. This is not the sole responsibility of Football West, it is an area that the club must invest in.
The National Youth League is rumoured to be possibly disbanded by the FFA, which if that is the case will be a grave mistake. It is not perfect, but three years in it needs to be tinkered with to make it more worthwhile for the clubs. The age limit should not be lowered, to suit the wishes of the Head of National Development, as this is in fact deterring many A League Coaches from pulling players up from the Youth team.
For this Hyundai A league season the Salary Cap was $2.3million. Perth Glory being so far from other clubs around the Country, needs to look at using this more wisely. Hypothetically speaking, they should allocate $2million on their 20 squad players. The remaining $300,000 could be allocated to those players who they are trying to turn into first team players from the Youth or outside. You could pay 10 players $30,000 a year, to train full time and see the benefits and work with them one on one.
If the FFA say it has to be spent on the 20 players the club needs to argue that it is essential to secure their future, and also remind them that when they ran the club they did not utilise the salary cap to the full.
Developing local players will serve so many benefits, they will not be as expensive as bringing players from over east in terms of salary, and they will pull people through the gate as Western Australians are keen to see their own do well. Finally as Western Warriors coach Mickey Arthur stated on “Not The Footy Show” ‘home grown players will always perform better than imports,’ the reason being they have an inbuilt pride in their local side.
This will in turn mend fences that have fallen down over the past six years and hopefully unite the Western Australian football public behind their team.
Perth Glory does need a restructure of that there is no doubt, but until they implement a program that brings through and develops local players they will never reach the heights that they currently dream of achieving.