The announcement from Perth Glory yesterday that former Perth coach Graham Normanton would be the person to fill the new role of WA Recruitment Manager, came as no surprise to many. Once CEO Paul Kelly announced such a role on “Not The Footy Show” we stated that Normanton was favourite to fill the position.
If the club can now fast track him through his A and B Licences do not be surprised to see a Naven and Normanton coaching combination should the season not go according to plan.
Normanton’s appointment has already had many in the Perth football community sharpening their knives. Many believing that his success at Perth over an amazing twelve years was built on buying the best players rather than developing players, and at times buying players simply to prevent other clubs from having a key playmaker or goal scorer. This may be true to some extent however he still had to mould those players into a team.
The key issue is now going to be picking players who can go on and play at A League level. The past two McInerney Ford Gold medallists, (the state’s best player) Marc Anthony and David Micevski both had a taste of A League football but lacked the consistency to hold down a regular place. Anthony Skorich and Andrijia Jukic are two more standouts from the state league who had two years to force their way through but couldn’t. Tommy Amphlett must hold down a regular place in the side this year or he could well find himself back in the state league a year down the track.
Graham Normanton has a hard task ahead of him. This role is not going to be about simply watching State Premier League games, as the answers are probably not there. After all to be fair all the coaches since Ron Smith arrived, he and Dave Mitchell were regularly seen at games. Lee Bamber is always at State league games as is Ante Kovacevic, and Ian Gillan, so are another pair of eyes needed for the State Premier League?
One of the major flaws with the Perth Glory Youth set up – and we have raised this issue – is that trials are restricted to players from state Premier league sides and NTC. Yet when you start out in the game most children play for the club nearest to their home, because it is convenient to mum and dad who have to drive you there and pick you up. So the talent in say Gosnells, Rockingham or Ocean Reef is completely ignored. Hopefully Normanton in his new role will be visiting these areas on a regular basis to uncover diamonds that definitely exist.
He too should be visiting all of the schools to find talent coming through at that level that may not be playing in the Saturday leagues but opting to play with mates on a Sunday.
There is so much for him to do that one wonders if this was in fact the right structure. The club has just signed up Adrian Webster and Michael Garcia as ambassadors, maybe they too should have been given the role of scouts to unearth talent. However they may not have the ability to see the crucial components to make it to the next level, it is not as straightforward as some would have you believe, and some ex players have no idea about such things. Many a player has been invited in to train with the Glory who has shone in the state league, but has floundered.
As Todd Howarth – a rare player to make the step up at a more mature age – has said he was surprised at the jump and it took him time to adjust, ‘probably a season.’ That is why we have advocated Glory need to work with players outside of their club to assist in bringing them up to A League level.
Paul Kelly stated on “Not The Footy Show” that he was looking to recruit players from the ages 22-27 from the state league, as the club lacked players in this age bracket. As we stated previously, in Europe if you have not been picked up by 22 most clubs will not touch you due to the bad habits you already have. If this is Normanton’s brief, it is a concern and dare we say he is doomed to fail. If however he is being asked to identify younger talent that may make it in two to three years and the club is prepared to invest in those players with a long term goal, then he has a better chance of success. There is no doubt the net needed widening and he has the runs on the board in terms of success, so give the man a chance to prove his worth