Fergie facing festive uncertainty

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Just two weeks ago I wrote an article for The Football Sack explaining why both Ian Ferguson and Miron Bleiberg were feeling comfortable in their current managerial roles.

Since then the fortunes of the two coaches couldn’t be more different.

While Bleiberg’s Gold Coast United have found a bit of form to pick up a credible draw against Sydney FC at Skilled Park before dismantling Adelaide United 3-0 away from home, Ferguson’s Perth Glory lost their sixth game in the last eight at home to Melbourne Heart following last weekend’s late defeat against Wellington Phoenix.

“It’s not good enough to lose your home games, these are the games you’ve got win,” said a rather deflated Ferguson after the match.

“I did say at the beginning of the season that I wanted to make NIB [Stadium] a fortress and make it difficult for teams to come here but that’s two games we’ve lost now at home.”

In truth Glory deserved more than to be on the receiving end of Mate Dugandzic’s late winner having been the better side for much of the game, but football is a cruel business and you get punished for not taking your chances.

Jacob Burns, Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet could and probably should have given the Perth fans something positive to shout about when the game was tied at 1-1, while Ferguson was again left scratching his head at what he felt was a poor decision to deny Glory a penalty.

A clear tug on Smeltz by Adrian Madaschi in the second half drew no response from referee Jarrad Gillett, yet Glory were victims of such a decision going against them in Week Two when, in the reverse fixture at AAMI Park, Chris Coyne was penalised for doing the same thing to Maycon.

These are the fine margins on which a team’s season and indeed a manager’s job can hang and Fergie knows that, admitting that he is feeling the pressure that comes with such a poor run of form.

“Look, at the end of the day we’re in a business where you live by and die by results and at this moment in time the results are not going for us,” he said.

It’s a difficult Christmas and New Year period for Glory with the Central Coast Mariners next up on Friday night before the team heads east to take on the Newcastle Jets and then begins 2012 with a home fixture against Brisbane Roar.

Word on the street suggests that Glory owner Tony Sage will be reassessing Ferguson’s position as team boss in the next week meaning we could see yet another changing of the guard at the club, especially if the Scotman’s demeanour in the post match press conference is anything to go by.

Miron Bleiberg meanwhile can look forward to a much quieter Christmas, happy in the knowledge that his job is safe and his team probably won’t be leaving their next home game to a chorus of boos.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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