Perth Glory CEO Paul Kelly this week announced that he plans to now move forward with the recommendations put forward by the Hatt Review into the Perth Glory earlier this year, by focusing the club’s future on local youth.
This would tend to indicate that this season was about one last attempt to buy experience and success, rather than building for the future.
One thing that seems strange about this decision – which we applaud – is the way that this year’s Youth League side has seen the young talent identified by coach Gareth Naven sitting out games when as many as eight first team squad players have been selected ahead of them, as first team coach Ian Ferguson wants his players to have game time.
Many believe that this is how the youth league should work, a vehicle to give first team players game time, whereas we believe if that is the case calling it the Youth league is a misnomer. As advocated previously we feel an apprentice system would be a greater benefit to all concerned.
One thing that does concern us with this recruitment move, which as we have stated we agree with, is how long the club is going to invest in the players identified as being the future of Perth Glory. How long will they be given to come up to A League standards and will the coach’s priority be to bring through that talent rather than necessarily results?
As Adelaide United coach John Kosmina, a coach who when he left the A League opted to go back and coach in the state league, so strong is his passion for the game, stated on the show last week, “The one thing I really think we’ve got to work on is developing local talent and unfortunately the gap I see between the A League and the local comps in whatever state is widening. The level of professionalism and the level of investment in the A league is increasing all the time, and you go back a notch to what is the second best competition in the state, and that’s how you have to look at it, don’t call it the state league, it’s the next best competition in the state, and without being disrespectful to anybody, it’s almost still chook raffle stuff.”
“We have to get this at least to semi professional where the players can make a substantial living out of it. There’s not enough supporter base in this country in any sport to be able to support a second tier competition financially or just turning up and paying your ten bucks to get in on a weekend.”
Kosmina is right, so in the meantime we must show patience with those who are identified as having what it takes to make the step up to the A league and time must be invested in making them better players. The FFA also have to look at the second tier and make sure that it does not fall too far behind too quickly, as without this tier the game will be in even deeper trouble.