Time to Accentuate the Positive

Nobody likes a whinger, especially Australians.

Unfortunately Perth Glory are beginning to get a reputation for whingeing.

First up they were upset that they were not given the hosting rights for the FFA Cup final played at the weekend. Their argument had some merit inasmuch as they had qualified for the final for the second year running, and had been forced to play away on that occasion.

Reasons given were that the crowds in Perth were not big enough to warrant Perth Glory hosting the final. Yet many will claim that the crowds would have flocked to NIB stadium for a final, just as they did when the Socceroos came to town after an absence of ten years. It is hard to say whether that would have been the case, as many have not bought into the whole FFA Cup competition, others are still miffed with Perth Glory over their salary cap breaches last season. There has even been comment made that how could the FFA have given Perth hosting rights when allegedly the club has still not paid the $269,000 fine imposed on the club for breaking the salary cap; what message would that have sent other clubs in the league?

The truth is that FFA decision to play the game in Melbourne was solely based on commercial reasons. They believed that the best supported club, Melbourne Victory, would attract more fans. The timing of the game on the East coast would be better in terms of a television audience, and television production would be cheaper than if the game was played in Perth.

In fact, as the FFA run the showpiece game the Perth Glory could have found itself in another financial hole, as they had promised their members free tickets to the final if it was hosted in Perth.

One of the key problems with the disappointing crowd at the weekend was the fact that the FFA overpriced the tickets, with some people having to pay $80 for entry. Perth Glory have over 5000 people who have taken up one of their nine membership options, even if the FFA had sold them tickets at a reduced rate of say $50 they would have been up for $250,000. Even if they had been given tickets at half price the club would have had to pay $200,000 to keep their promise to members.

The club are now reported to be upset that the FFA has rejected their request to re-sign Irish striker Andy Keogh under the A-League’s guest player rule.

The West Australian reported today that “An FFA spokesman said Keogh’s playing career had not met the marquee standards required to qualify for a guest player slot.”

To many this may appear a strange response, especially when last season the FFA broke its own competition rules to allow Perth Glory to change the status of two players to Marquee players. (FFA Backed into a Corner)

Last season the exciting Nebojsa Marinkovic was approved as a Marquee player, yet Andy Keogh has a far more impressive career record. Marinkovic has played in Serbia and Israel before coming to Perth, whereas Andy keogh had played in the English Premier League and Championship. Keogh has represented the Republic of Ireland 30 times whereas Marinkovic has only represented Serbia at U17, U19 and U21 level.

Yet the criteria for a Guest player is different to that of a Marquee player so the club should not have been surprised by the decision. The FFA’s A-League regulations state “A Guest Player must be a Player of significant international reputation who will attract interest, media and fans to the A-League and not simply a mechanism in order to bolster the Player Roster of a Club, to be determined by the FFA.”

Then in the criteria points it states the Guest player must have:
(b) experience in international football leagues, including the number of years, the number of appearances, the standard of the league and the recency of the experience;
(c) the international profile of the Player and his potential marketability for the Club and the A-League;

It is fair to say that as impressive as Andy Keogh’s career was by comparison to some other A-League imports it is not of a standard whereby he is going to attract media and fans to the A-League, especially as he has already played here.

The club may well be disappointed but once again one has to say they do not really have any grounds to complain.

Andy Keogh did do well for the club, but many fans will not forget that he was very quick to leave the club and head to Thailand. He showed little loyalty then so why should the club be going to such lengths to welcome him back? Surely there are other players of a similar standard who would appreciate the opportunity to play in the A-league and live in Perth?

The positive for the club is they made another final, albeit one that despite the hype has not captured the public’s imagination. Late in the game the team showed the fight and endeavour that fans want to see. Coach Kenny Lowe has said it will take time for this group to gel and if he gets it right they may gel in December and january and make a surge for the finals. Rather than bemoaning decisions that are almost being used to make the club appear hard done by, it would be good to see more positive stories on the playing side, as in truth that is the most important part of the club. As they say in the song, “accentuate the positive eliminate the negative.”

Time to Accentuate the Positive
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