Posts tagged ‘NIb Stadium’
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.
In the interests of football in Western Australia, Perth Glory needs to be successful on the park, of that there can be no doubt. For having a team playing well and being successful in a national competition drives interest from future players and supporters and also gains media coverage which in turn results in investment in the game as a whole, from government and private sponsors.
This is also why there has to be a relationship between the game’s governing body in Western Australia, Football West and Perth Glory. Football West is there to grow the game at grassroots level and make sure that as many people as possible are playing the game in the state and a link with Perth Glory can help them do that. They also there predominantly to administer the game as a whole at all levels and ensure that there are sufficient pitches available for everyone who wants to play to be able to play.
Last year the two organisations worked together superbly when Perth Glory gave away 10,000 free tickets to their first game in the revamped NIB Stadium, and with most of the tickets being used by Football West’s member clubs ensured the biggest regular season A League crowd for the club.
Independent of Perth Glory, Football West in the past couple of years has made massive inroads in terms of communication. It has done this via social media and other such avenues, although the website still leaves a great deal to be desired with pertinent information often hard to find or simply not posted.
One of the major successes is Football 360. Peter Kapsanis and his offsider have done an outstanding job with this. The quality of the editing and production is first class, and shows their dedication to the task, as quality such as this takes time to put together.
As good as this is many people in and around the game believe that this webisode is supposed to be about the local game, the semi professionals the amateurs, the juniors, the women and the referees. It is not there as a vehicle to promote Perth Glory.
This is where lines appear to be becoming extremely blurred of late and it would appear that there has been a change in the relationship between the privately funded Perth Glory and the government funded not-for-profit Football West. It is easy to pinpoint when that shift started to occur and that was when Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven were appointed to the coaching staff at the A-League club.
Suddenly two local boys were in charge, two ex players who had come through the game at local level and who had also worked closely with Football West. When they announced that they wanted to see Perth Glory become a side made up of predominantly local players not only was that good news for the game in Western Australia, but it was good news for Football West’s development programs; as every player signed from that pool of talent gives the program added credibility.
Since these two announcements Football West’s promotion of Perth Glory via its Facebook page – which surely is there solely for the areas of the game it governs? – its newsletters, and also Football 360 have featured a great deal more content on Perth Glory. A case in point the July 12th issue of First Touch, the official e-newsletter of Football West was almost completely about Perth Glory.
Football West pays for Football 360 to be produced, they pay staff to write their e-newsletter, so is the privately owned Perth Glory paying for this air time or the time the staff at Football West are dedicating to promote this privately run club? Many of the local clubs are beginning to become a little miffed that Football West is promoting Perth Glory so much and wonder what they, the clubs, or Football West are getting in return. If it is another 10,000 free tickets to one game this season is that a good deal?
Not the Footy Show over the past few months has been contacted by many clubs who feel that their competition is being neglected in favour of Perth Glory, that Football West’s focus is misdirected, rather than us be the judge, tell us what you think.
It will be the battle of the potential wooden spooners in Super Rugby on Saturday night at NIB Stadium when the Emirates Western Force take on the Highlanders from New Zealand. The Highlanders have had a horror season and will be looking for a much needed win as they make their way home after their trip to the Republic. The Force will be looking for a performance that lasts 80 minutes to show their loyal supporters they can deliver a win.
The Force have had some impressive performances with wins over the Crusaders and the Reds and going down to the reigning Champions the Chiefs by a point, but too often they have thrown games away through their own ill discipline, or not treasuring possession. Last week was a case in point, leading at half time they gave away two needless penalties after the re-start and fell behind to the Sharks, and then the backs continually kicked away possession that the forwards had worked hard to win.
It has been a frustrating season for Force fans as the team shows glimpses of what is possible, many claim that the team lacks consistency. Others claim they lack concentration for the full 80 minutes. The truth lies somewhere in between.
The Force have three games left in this year’s Super Rugby season and all the games are at home. It is vital that they manage to string some wins together in order to placate their corporate sponsors and their loyal fans. What is worrying are rumours that Emirates will no longer continue their naming rights sponsorship, as well as another key sponsor withdrawing; however that we believe is because of a change of ownership in the company and nothing to do with the Force’s form. Some sponsors are already stating that they are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their boxes on match days, the reason being the Perth public tend to only want to watch winning sides. This is clear in all codes of football as well as other sports.
So how far away are the Force from turning that corner? If one looks at their results overall it would appear not that far. Apart from the 41-7 thrashing from the Brumbies no other team has run over the top of the side. If we take their two wins out of the equation, they have played eleven other games. Out of those eleven games they have lost six, more than half of those games by seven points or less. That is one converted try. Yes, it is still a loss, but the margin of the loss would tend to indicate they are not too far away from turning these losses into victories. They probably require a few new recruits in the off season to tip these games in their favour, in particular a couple of backs who are capable of turning a game, they do not need to be big name players, just players capable of breaking the line on a regular basis.
For the last three games though, they must learn to treasure possession, be patient, and limit where they infringe on the park. When Jake White took over the Springboks he looked at the number of kickable penalties the side conceded in a game, and over the ensuing years worked on reducing this. He succeeded and the result was the Springboks winning their second World Cup. Managing that discipline in the heat of battle can have a dramatic effect on a teams performances.
The Force are not far from victory, but the game against the Highlanders is a crucial game, and one that they must win.