It’s undeniably Perth Glory’s best ever A-League campaign, so why are the fans not coming to see it?

It was once reasonable to blame poor on-field performance for the lack of interest in the game in Perth as Glory has flailed amongst the bottom teams for the majority of A-League history. But Glory’s resurgence under Tony Popovic this season has highlighted a worrying fact: whether they’re good or bad, the fans simply aren’t coming.

Since the 2009/10 season Perth Glory’s average home attendance figures have fluctuated between 8000 and 10,000, apart from the 2016/17 season’s average of 10,533.

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This season’s average of 9,633 ranks with the average attendance numbers of some of Glory’s worst campaigns, but this time around they’ve not only been the best team in the league, they’ve been the best from the very start.

Glory have been on top of the table since round four this season and the signs of an upward trajectory were evident as early as round two, when they dispatched Melbourne Victory away from home in an uncharacteristically gritty display. Since round four Glory fans have had nine opportunities to see their side play on home soil, but the highest attendance in that time was a mere 11,393 against Newcastle in round 16.

Brisbane Roar currently occupy ninth position on the table, but despite having a horrid season by their high standards Brisbane boast an attendance average of 10,396, which eclipses Glory’s current average by more than 600.

What makes matters worse for Glory is the comparative figures of Perth’s sporting teams in other codes. Perth Scorchers had their worst Twenty20 Big Bash season to date, finishing dead last and missing finals for the first time. Despite the dismal campaign their highest home attendance was 40,511 and their lowest was 16,660, with an average home attendance of 28,380.

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The lowest Perth Scorchers crowd attendance by far eclipses the highest attendance of any Glory game this season, and that’s comparing the worst side in one code against the best side in another. These are staggering numbers which point to a discerning problem for football in Western Australia, and with the excuse of poor performance dead and buried after Glory’s outstanding 2018/19 campaign, It’s difficult to find another explanation.

Glory are currently in the midst of a bizarre six-week spell without a home game, and the time between now and their next game at HBF Park on March 30th could be vital in building momentum toward higher attendance figures for the rest of the season.

If Glory defeat Adelaide away from home on March 15th a win over Melbourne Victory on their return to HBF Park would seal their spot in the top two and take them one step closer to a maiden A-League premiership. It’s a huge game between two of the best teams in the league, and it’s worthy of a bumper crowd to match the occasion. However, with the West Coast Eagles playing their first home game of the AFL season on the same night, there’s a genuine possibility of Glory returning home to play in front of a crowd below the season average.

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With only three home games left to play Glory’s dazzling, new-look outfit is crying out for a crowd to match it, and with finals on the horizon WA football fans face their toughest test of the A-League era: will this sporting-mad state ever be won over by Perth Glory?

Feature image credit: Darren Speedie, Vision Inspired Photography

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Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.