Perth Glory are in the midst of their best ever A-League campaign, but how does this team stack up against the best Glory teams of all time?

20 games into the current season, The Football Sack has taken the regular season statistics of every Perth Glory team in history and seen how they would stack up against Popovic’s men in a 20-game season.

The adjusted figures (shown in a table at the end of this article) show where the current campaign sits amongst Glory’s best ever in their 23 seasons from both the NSL and A-League eras.

5th – Perth Glory 1999/2000 (NSL)

Under coach Bernd Stange Perth Glory finished top of the table in their fourth NSL campaign since the club’s inception in 1995. In a 34-game season Glory notched 19 wins, seven losses and eight draws, keeping 10 clean sheets and scoring 60 goals. Glory’s leading goal-scorers in the 1999/00 NSL season were Alistair Edwards and Con Boutsianis with 13 a piece. They finished four points above Wollongong Wolves on top of the NSL table, but their terrific season ultimately ended in heartbreak. In the worst on-field moment in club history, Glory squandered a 3-0 first half lead to Wollongong in the Grand Final, conceding three second half goals and losing in a penalty shootout.

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In a season seven games longer than the current A-League format, Glory braved 17 gruelling away trips to finish on top of the 16-team league, earning this side fifth spot on Glory’s all-time regular season performance chart.

4th – Perth Glory 2002/03 (NSL)

Perth Glory’s first championship came on the back of an NSL season with a quirky finals format abandoned after it’s one-time-only use in this campaign. In the 24-game regular season Perth Glory finished second, but what followed was a 10-game mini-season between the top six sides, in which the top two faced off in the grand final. Glory finished top of that table and faced Olympic Sharks in the decider, winning 2-0 to claim their maiden NSL championship.

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Glory’s regular season consisted of 16 wins, three draws and five losses. It was their defensive solidity which defined this side as Glory notched 10 clean sheets in 24 games, and keeping another clean sheet in the all-important Grand Final victory. Damien Mori was in full-flight at the other end of the field for Perth, picking up the NSL golden boot with 16 goals, scoring eight more in the championship mini-season.

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Much like their current squad, the 2002/03 Perth Glory were near-on impossible to break down, and were well deserving of the NSL title and their place among the great Glory sides.

3rd – Perth Glory 2001/02 (NSL) 

This Perth Glory side were a marvel in the regular season. Glory finished 12 points above Newcastle United on top of the ladder, losing only once and keeping seven clean sheets as they dominated the rest of the league. With new recruit Damien Mori scoring 17 goals on his way to another NSL golden boot, Glory were armed to the teeth to take their regular season form all the way to their first NSL title but they failed once again, losing 1-0 at home to Olympic Sharks to blow yet another chance at silverware.

It took until round 12 for this side to lose and they didn’t do it again in the regular season. Their home form was exemplary, winning nine and drawing three of their 12 home games, while scoring at a rate of over two goals per game. Glory were unable to capitalise on their barnstorming form to take it all the way, but the strength of their performance in the regular season alone was phenomenal.

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In the 20-game adjusted table this side comes out as one of Glory’s best, but despite finishing 12 points clear at the top of the ladder this side can only take out third spot on the list of the all-time best Glory seasons.

2nd – Perth Glory 2018/19 (A-League)

That’s right – the statistics behind Popovic’s masterful takeover of Perth Glory has his side in second spot amongst the best Glory teams in history over a 20 game spell. Glory’s form this season has been stunning. They’ve only lost once, and it was at home in the midst of the cramped fixture schedule over Christmas and the new year. Glory are undefeated away from home this season and boast an unmatched goal difference of +25, more than double Sydney FC’s in second spot and eight more than Melbourne Victory in third.

As regular seasons go for Glory this one is almost the best of their 23 campaigns stretching back to 1996. This time around it’s not Bobby Despotovski leading the charge, it’s not Mori, it’s not Nik Mrdja, Jason Petkovic or Scott Miller. It’s Diego Castro and Andy Keogh, it’s Chris Ikonomidis, Shane Lowry and Liam Reddy. It’s Tony Popovic and his deep squad looking to paste their names into Glory’s history books alongside the iconic names that came before.

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1st – Perth Glory 2003/04 (NSL)

The final season of NSL football ended on the boot of Mrdja, whose golden goal in extra-time against Parramatta Power in the grand final ended the NSL era with Perth Glory sitting on the throne.

But before the fairy-tale finish, there was a season of sheer and utter dominance. In the 24-game season Glory kept 13 clean sheets, scoring 56 goals and conceding only 22 for a goal difference of +34. Mori, Mrdja and Despotovski provided 42 of Glory’s 56 goals between each other scoring 16, 14 and 12 respectively. They’re Perth’s deadliest ever strike force.

They finished six points above Parramatta in first place, winning 11 of 12 home games and losing just three games altogether. Their unconvincing finals performance led to Glory having to win on the road in the Grand Final, which made Mrdja wheeling away to celebrate that title-clenching moment all the more theatrical, but they had no such issues through the regular season.

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Unlike previous seasons where they came up short after dominating the league, Glory were able to shake off their finals hoodoo in both the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons to end the NSL as back-to-back champions, saving their best for last in the club’s best regular season campaign to date.

The table

Taking the 34 games of the 1999/2000 season and the 24 games of the other NSL seasons listed in the table, the wins, draws, losses, goals scored, goals conceded, goal difference and total points have been reduced to a 20-game ratio to match where we stand in the current campaign, and here are the results.

Perth Glory Team P W D L GF GA GD PTS
2003/04 20 15 2.5 2.5 46.7 18.3 28.4 47.5
2018/19 20 14 5 1 43 18 25 47
2001/02 20 13.3 5.8 0.9 43.3 19.1 24.2 45.7
2002/03 20 13.3 2.5 4.2 42.5 23.3 19.2 42.4
1999/00 20 11.1 4.1 4.8 35.3 24.7 10.6 37.4

 

If every season were 20 games long, the current Glory side’s statistics line up best with the 2003/04 Perth Glory side which tops the table. With seven games to go in the current season, are we about to see the best regular season in Perth Glory’s long history?

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Featured 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.