Posts tagged ‘NIb Stadium’
It is quite laughable the reaction of the AFL affiliates and the media covering the sport in Western Australia to the news that there is a bid for the Socceroos to play England as the focal point of the New Stadium at Burswood. All it has done is show how stuck in the past they all are.
Sure a Western Derby is a big attraction in Western Australia for those who follow the code, but how does it compare to a top class international in football? That is the trouble AFL does not have a higher level than the AFL. Its hybrid games against the amateur Irish teams have an equally limited appeal as does the game itself does. Like many other national sports around the world if it is not going to catch on internationally in the first 100 years of its existence it is unlikely ever to.
We will be fed that old line that Perth is a “Football town,” a line fuelled by those with a vested interest. No city is more of a footy town than Melbourne, yet look how they embrace every sport at every level, by creating decent facilities and attracting major events. They are not so insular in their views and have now established themselves as the Sporting Capital in the country.
It is incredible to read Mr Cransberg, Chairman of the West Coast Eagles say that as the sport most likely to be the main user of the stadium they should be afforded primary consideration. Why? This stadium does not belong to the AFL it belongs to the taxpayers of Western Australia. The West Coast Eagles will merely be tenants just as will many other sports and musical acts.
Head of the WA Football Commission Gary Walton was quoted as saying, “International events come with pretty significant up-front investment where a derby will in my view guarantee a capacity crowd and it’ll come at no cost to the state.” What small minded insular thinking. It is people with attitudes such as this that hold Western Australia back.
This is supposed to be a state of the art stadium when it is completed, so why would you have as your opening event something that will only garner minimum media coverage within Australia. By hosting a top international sporting event you are immediately putting the stadium, and Perth on the world map as having a venue suitable for world class events. If England or World Champions Germany played the Socceroos you would be assured a sell out crowd. If the Wallabies played whoever lifts the Rugby World Cup at the end of this year it is just as likely to sell out, as would an Ashes Test match. The true code of Football however has to be the biggest drawcard, as it is a truly global sport. The fact is all of these sporting events played between international teams will have far more global and national appeal than a local AFL match, and anyone who says otherwise needs to get on a plane and go and experience the real world outside of Western Australia.
What is worrying is the bias and factual inaccuracies run by the West Australian Newspaper. Mark Duffield wrote that ‘the state government will, in three years time have forgiven Australian soccer officials for leaving Perth off its map of Australia when it drew up the Asian Cup Program.” Yes, they did fail to promote the tournament in the West, have any ambassadors or fan Parks, but the biggest problem was the only feasible venue, NIB Stadium fails to meet FIFA requirements. The FFA stated after the game against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval in 2005 that they would never host an international there again because it was unsuitable for television and spectators. Had the State Government spent some of the money allocated to the refurbishment of NIB stadium on upgrading the changing rooms, then Western Australia would have a case to answer as to why we were left out of having any games. The truth is it was our own government who are at fault on this occasion. (Build it Properly and they Will Come). Some cynics have questioned whether the Sports minister did this deliberately so that Football would not be able to challenge his beloved AFL; It is extremely unlikely that a politician would be that petty and small-minded.
So why would Mr Duffield mislead his readers? Then again you cannot expect Mr Duffield to know these things as being the Chief Football writer, his time would be taken up finding inane stories to keep AFL on the back page of the paper for 350 days of the year. It is also interesting to note that the WA Football Commission has in the past paid for editorial coverage in the West Australian, to ensure that they received two or four pages coverage, yet never did the paper reveal that the space was paid for.
To be fair to Mr Duffield he does make a valid point asking why should it be a sporting event that opens the stadium, why can’t it be a concert of epic proportions? The most obvious answer would be because it is first and foremost a sporting venue.
If we wanted mass exposure maybe looking at hosting the T20 Champions League in Perth would be an option. That would attract a massive audience in the subcontinent and would give thousands of people the chance to be a part of an opening event.
The truth is whatever event or events in what should be an opening week of celebrations are staged, they must be ones that attract global attention. Perth needs to shout about this stadium and the fact that finally we have a stadium to match the best in the world – if it in fact does. Only by global exposure will we attract future events.
It is also important to realise that only by hosting the Socceroos will we see European clubs put pressure on the FFA to have more games here as the flying time will be less for their players returning home! So Football’s case actually would have a long term gain.
It has not been a good Asian Cup for football fans in Western Australia, apart from being completely ignored in terms of participation in the tournament on any level, many fans sat down on Friday evening to watch the opening game, Australia v Kuwait on the ABC, only to find that the game was being shown two hours after kick off. This is in spite of the fact that the ABC had been running advertisements stating that they were showing all of Australia’s games live.
As one irate fan wrote on social media why have the FFA not ensured that the games are indeed shown Live across the country? Surely if you enter a broadcast agreement with a media outlet you make sure that despite a major world event that all games are shown live?
There have been many fans who have been upset that Perth was not one of the host cities, claiming that NIB Stadium is without doubt one of the best venues in the country following the refurbishment.
The problem is once again the job was not done properly. The Western Australian government invested $95million to create a wonderful venue for watching sport. The two new stands are just what the ground and fans needed. However they did not allocate any funds to upgrade the referees or away changing rooms to meet the standards required to host international football matches.
A call to Venueswest, the Government department now running the stadium confirmed that the away changing room still only had one wash basin, one urinal, one toilet and two showers. Well below what is required to host international sporting teams.
Perth’s sporting fans can moan about the Government not investing in bringing the Socceroos or the Matildas to Perth, or even the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, and that is a another debate as to whether tax payer money should be spent on such ventures. The question is why did the Government not invest it upgrading the changing rooms so that we actually had a stadium that met the required criteria? Who was overseeing this investment? Why were they not aware of the International standards and why did they not make sure that ground refurbishment met all of those requirements?
Let us hope they get such issues right in the new multimillion dollar all purpose stadium which is supposedly going to keep all sports happy!
It was definitely a first for Western Australia, the question is was it a first for football in Australia? At the end of the weekend all three Perth Glory teams find themselves sitting top of their respective Hyundai A-League, W-League and Youth League tables.
Many fans of other clubs will be quick to say it is early days and let us see if their are there at the end of the season. However for Perth football fans who have been starved of anything to get excited about since the FFA took over the running of football, this is a big issue.
There is a strong feeling in the west that Football in WA is very much the black sheep of the FFA’s “Football Family.” We have in the past had a rough deal when the A-League draw has been done, frequently having to play more away games than home games. What difference does that make? In season 2009/10 when the Perth Glory made the finals for the first time and actually had a good record at home it made a big difference, as instead of a possible win at home they played an extra game away and that was the difference between hosting a finals game and travelling to Wellington Phoenix, where they lost in a penalty shoot out. One point separated them on the ladder.
We have not had the FFA subsidise any marquee players for Perth Glory. We have also been starved of any semblance of international football, be it women’s or youth, let alone the Socceroos. The FFA did claim that Iran were going to play the Socceroos in Perth at the recent fan forum, yet with NIB Stadium still not meeting AFC international standards the only option would have been Subiaco Oval, a venue they swore they would never play at again following the poor attendance at the game against Indonesia in 2005 when 13, 719 attended. One has to ask whether Iran would have pulled in many more fans at a ground dreadful for watching sport played on rectangular pitches.
The FFA were no doubt hoping that the memories of the World Cup Qualifier from 1997 would be the hook on which they could build up a rivalry, but one fears that too much time has passed for that to be the case.
The FFA may have a great chance to show the fans in Western Australia that we are indeed part of the “Football Family” this week.
Tomorrow Perth Glory take on Bentleigh Greens in a FFA Cup semi final. A game that many would expect a team top of the A-League to win, professionals against part timers, however it will not be easy. No cup game is ever easy!
If Perth Glory do win, the FFA have the chance to bring a major game to Perth for the first time ever. Why can’t the inaugural FFA Cup Final be played in Perth should the team make it through to the final?
Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners play off in the other semi final. Both of these cities have had international football with the Central Coast hosting the Matildas and Adelaide the Socceroos in June 2011; after a wait of seven years. However they had hosted Youth International games. Perth has had nothing.
The FFA may well cry poor by stating that it will cost them to fly their VIPs across the Nullarbor to Perth, it will cost more to Fox Sports as they bring in the Outside Broadcast truck from Adelaide, but is this not a question of growing the game? A case of doing what is best for the game?
This will be a crucial decision by the FFA. They may not see it as such, but if they want the people in Western Australia to feel a part of the “Football Family” then they have to the hosting of the final in Western Australia. A snub now will do untold harm to how they and their promises are viewed by fans and all involved in the game. If ever there was an ideal time to make such a decision, it is now, with interest in all three teams at a high.
The first thing that needs to happen though is Perth Glory to win…
In sport there are some people whose names are synonymous with the club they played for. In Australian football, Gareth Naven is one such person.
Gareth Naven was the inaugural captain of Perth Glory in 1996 and played with the armband around his arm until 2002, when he hung up his boots. He played 143 games for the club and was a player who lead by example, his passion and his commitment. While he was at the club they won two National Soccer League Premierships; they also almost made the finals in their very first season in existence.
When he retired his career had garnered so much respect that at Perth Oval/ME Bank Stadium or now NIB Stadium, he had a room named after him. Not only that he was made the first ever life member of the club in 2004.
In June of this year his contribution was recognised once again as an annual trophy was named in his honour. With Perth Glory having a side playing in the National Premier Leagues Western Australia, it meant the club where he is best known would play against the club where he made his name, Perth Soccer Club. The trophy named in his honour and sponsored by Macron is to be determined on aggregate scores during the home and away season. Former Perth Glory coach and now President of Perth SC Gary Marocchi said at the time the trophy was announced “Gareth Naven was fiercely competitive on the field and always gave you 100 per cent passion and commitment, whether it was in the Azzurri or purple shirt.”
After his playing career came to an end Gareth Naven took over the coaching reins of Perth Glory’s youth team when the National Youth League started in 2008. in 2009/10 he lead the team to the Grand Final where they were runners up.
Naven took on an assistant coaching role to the first team when Alistair Edwards became coach and former club legend Scott Miller also came on board. The club making it very clear that they wished to involve more former club luminaries to try and bring back the pride in the floundering club.
It became clear at that time that the club was looking back at the key aspects that made the club successful under former owner Nick Tana. The focus was very much on Perth Glory once more becoming a community club, one the people of Western Australia could identify with, and be proud of. With an emphasis on youth, young local talent was signed with a three year plan to lift the club back into the top echelons of Australian football. Nick Tana created Perth Glory on the back of such values and talent, yet in recent years it was clear the club had lost its way and many welcomed the shift in focus. In fact word is this is what the much talked about Hatt Report recommended.
It was almost a year ago in December 2013 the club and coach Alistair Edwards parted ways, following a spat between the coach and club captain Jacob Burns. It was clear that the path that the club was taking under the Edwards regime, youth was being favoured, and the 35 year old Captain was unhappy at being left on the bench. His frustration was not helped by the fact that the Coach’s son Ryan Edwards played in Burns position in midfield in that match against Melbourne Victory; It is worth mentioning that the on-loan Ryan Edwards has since returned to English Championship side Reading where he has made ten appearances and been hailed by coach Nigel Adkins.
From that point on the focus at the club shifted again, as the club brought in experienced players in the transfer window to assist their push for the finals. The three year plan, the return to Nick Tana’s model club, were no longer the way forward.
In June the focus shifted again. It was time for out with the old and in with the new, confirmation that the path chosen at the start of the season was no longer going to be the path taken. Following a review of the club’s coaching structure Naven and Scott Miller were shown the door. Former WAIS Women’s coach John Gibson replaced Naven in charge of the Youth team.(Even though Wikipaedia at the time of writing still has both in charge!) Gibson’s assistants are Steve McGarry and the first appointee in the newly created role of General Manager Football, Jacob Burns.
These appointments were announced on the same day it was revealed that the two stalwarts of the club were shown the door.
When asked by Not the Footy Show whose decision it was to part company with these two former players and reverse the planned increased involvement with former players the club advised “following the end of the 2013/14 A-League season the club completed an internal review of its coaching structure and football department to reflect the Club’s changing business needs. Given the nature of the matter no further comment will be made.”
The sad and unfortunate thing is the club that Gareth Naven represented so proudly, now finds one of its greatest ambassadors taking it to court, for unfair dismissal. The case is due to go to court later this month. This cannot be good for either party.
Many fans would like to know who made the decision to part ways with these two former players. Was it the newly structured Football side of the club? Was it new coach Kenny Lowe? Or was it the CEO Jason Brewer? Based on the statement from the club issued to Not the Footy Show, one would assume the latter made the final call, as he is the head of the club, and as CEO he would be the logical one reviewing the structures being put in place. However it could also have been the owner.
Some would say that Naven paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the former club captain after the altercation in the changing rooms at AAMI Park. Naven was quoted at the time as saying, “As a former captain of the club, I don’t like to see the club be in this position. When I was the captain of the club, it was really important to me that the priority always was the club, the behaviour of the club, the team and the players, and the integrity and humility you deliver as a captain. I’ve been highly disappointed with Jacob Burns’ behaviour at the moment. He is trying to cause a revolt, which taints this club.”
If that is true it is a shame that someone at the club could not mediate between the two combatitive former midfielders.
While looking into what is a very sad story, a club stalwart upon whom so many honours have been bestowed taking that very same club to court, Not the Footy Show was advised that state administrator Football West had been told that they could not employ Gareth Naven in a coaching capacity as long as he was taking a NPL club to court.
Football West CEO Peter Hugg was quick to refute that claim and said “‘as governing body of the sport in WA, Football West is entitled to and reserves its right to employ whoever it determines to be the best candidate for any such vacant position. I have received no directive from Glory not to employ any previous coach or staff member.”
We did ask Mr Hugg whether such a directive may have come from the FFA but he assured us that it did not.
There is no doubt that such a court case will bring more bad publicity to Perth Glory, and there is still a case pending with Alistair Edwards. It is very sad to see former stars forced to take such action and no doubt it pains them and tarnishes the memories they have of great times at a club they loved.
Coaching is a precarious game, and that is why coaches are paid more than most of us, as compensation when the inevitable firing happens. Is it therefore not fair for them to expect their contract to be paid out in full?
Sadly in all of this there will be no winners. Sadly in all this, irrespective of whether you love him or hate him, a true club legend – and the accolades were bestowed on him by the club – should not have to go down this path.
Would Nick Tana have ever let this reach this stage? Unlikely, as he had a passion for the club similar to Gareth Naven’s. He may not have shared your viewpoint, but he would go out of his way to make sure that nothing harmed the club.
It is a very unfortunate and disappointing situation, for the club and one who served it so well, Gareth Naven.
As the search for a new coach at Perth Glory narrows one has to feel that the club is on a hiding to nothing; that is unless they appoint Guus Hiddink.
The club will never be able to appease all of the fans no matter who they choose, unless the could lure Hiddink to NIB Stadium. If they select a foreign coach, unless it is a high profile one, who in turn will cost a great deal of money, there will be questions asked of his pedigree and how long will he take to adapt to the Hyundai A League. A league that is very different in terms of challenges from many around the world, with a salary cap, no transfers, and no youth academies to bring through the next generation of players.
If the club goes with a coach who has already had A-League experience and who is obviously out of the League at the present time, questions will be asked as to why he lost his job at his previous club and his results at that club will be analysed. No doubt disgruntled former players will air their views on his ability and immediately the new coach will have to prove himself; unless he has a strong enough character to rise above such pressures.
The truth is football fans are rarely happy with the decisions made by their clubs. Some fans will want a foreign coach, some will want a local coach, while others will want an established proven coach from the A-League or NSL. The club can never win, unless the coach proves to be successful, and then everyone forgets.
There was a time when Manchester United fans were calling for Sir Alex Ferguson’s head, a fact that is conveniently forgotten after so many years of success.
Therein lies another issue, sticking with a coach. If, as Perth Glory have indicated they have gone through a thorough and intensive process to ensure that they have the best man for the job, then give that person time. Not 18 months and stipulations on where the team must finish in the league. Ian Ferguson and Ron Smith both lost close to ten games by a one goal margin, both were good coaches who lost some of those games due to poor refereeing or bad luck. The truth is the team was never that far away from being successful. The margin between success and failure is so finite in football. Sometimes you have to look beyond results, even though it is a results driven business.
Outside of the Glory’s recruitment drive one has to look at the overall scheme of things in this country when it comes to coaches and ask why would anyone follow that career path? The FFA and state bodies are pushing people to climb the coaching ladder, demanding that coaches cannot coach at certain levels unless they have set qualifications. However With those qualifications comes the expectation of work.
Yet the opportunities are few and far between. The top of the coaching ladder is the Pro Licence, and the FFA has told those who have achieved that level of qualification they want them in the system. Yet rejected some of those very same people for a key position in Australian development, and gave the role to someone who did not have a Pro Licence at the time, and who it is believed did not apply for the role when it was advertised.
There are now many around Australia with A-Licences – the next one down from a Pro-licence – many with aspirations to coach in the A-League or overseas, yet when clubs in the A-league look overseas rather than within Australia their opportunities diminish. Their credibility is also indirectly harmed.
The reason that they have been overlooked will invariably come down to experience. “The NPL/State League is very different from the A-League,” will be the reason given, and that is a fair comment, yet how will they gain the experience necessary to make that step up?
The FFA is supposed to have strong ties with the Netherlands and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German FA (DFB) which the FFA stated “incorporates the sharing of technical information and coach development, the exchange of information and best practices in football management.” Why are we not seeing the cream of each NPL/State league’s coaches being given the opportunity to go to either of these countries and gain more experience? IN fact why are we not seeing A-League administrators not going and gaining experience in best practices in football management? That may prevent them all recording losses each year.
The other question has to be why are A-League clubs not assisting and working with these coaches to improve their knowledge and expertise? After all they will benefit at the end of the day, as the State Leagues/NPL is where they recruit from and if the coaching is better the players will be better when they eventually come to the A-League clubs.
There may be many an outstanding coach in the State/NPL competitions, yet they will never be given a chance purely because no one at the top of the game is prepared to explore the possibility, or even work with them initially to polish that possible rough diamond. Instead clubs at the highest level will recycle coaches with A-League experience or alternatively look overseas.
This cycle has to be broken and a new approach taken, especially if we want more Australian coaches to follow Ange Postecoglou into the national team role.
It is not one club’s fault that the game finds itself in this situation, but there has to be a change of attitude soon. Just as clubs look to find the best young players so too should the FFA and clubs be identifying the best up and coming coaches and nurturing them.
The recent Football Federation of Australia National Youth Championships held in Coffs Harbour were not only hugely successful for WA teams on the pitch as the under-13 team, coached by Brad Hassell, won the national title and the under-14 team, won their group going unbeaten. They scored 23 goals and did not concede a goal in five matches. Northern New South Wales was the team’s only defeat them in their sixth match.
While they may well have impressed on the pitch they lead Australia off of it.
While their competition was being played on the main pitch, the National Paralympic Football Championships were taking place on an adjacent pitch. Paralympic football is played by people with cerebral palsy, stroke injury and certain acquired brain injuries, and is seven a side.
The Western Australian under 13 and under 14 teams were the only teams to go and support their Western Australian counterparts in this competition, something that was greatly appreciated by the players and noted by other states. This is a credit to every single player, the coaching staff and the management.
In addition to this new Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer was there, watching his son participate. So impressed was he with the Western Australian Paralympic team’s performance and the individuals concerned that he promised the players free tickets to the club’s last home game against Sydney FC at NIB Stadium. It proved to be no hollow promise and once back in Perth the players received their tickets and attended the game.
There have been many, this site included, who have questioned whether football really is a ‘family,’ and whether that is not just a word used to market the game, but actions such as these show that there is a family- feel and it is great to see Western Australians all pulling together and supporting each other, and showing the other states that unity.
To all involved in supporting each other, and Jason Brewer for following up on his promise congratulations.