Glory risk being left behind unless big changes are made

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As Perth’s other sporting teams continue to thrive, Perth Glory’s disastrous 2013/14 season could do more damage to the club beyond just this season.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

With no wins in 10 weeks, Perth Glory fans are understandably questioning their mental state and asking themselves why they bother as the club remains on track for its first Hyundai A-League wooden spoon.

Rooted to the bottom of the table in a season that has had far more lows than highs, Sunday’s 3-0 defeat away to the Western Sydney Wanderers mathematically confirmed what many have known for weeks – Glory will not be taking part in the 2013/14 finals series.

With that in mind, supporters’ patience are being severely tested, and one only needs to look at the comments following any status posted on the club’s official Facebook page to get an idea of just how pissed off they are.

No one is escaping criticism; the owner, the board, the manager and the players are all copping the ire of fans searching for answers.

This weekend sees Glory host to the Newcastle Jets and it will be a severe test of loyalty for people to drag themselves to nib Stadium.

The hardcores will be there, as always, but where is the incentive for walk up supporters, so crucial to game day revenue, to go along to the game?

With the Perth Wildcats in semi-final action in the NBL on Friday night and the Fremantle Dockers playing their home opener this Saturday at Paterson’s Stadium, there are much more appealing options for those looking to be entertained.

The following week will see the West Coast Eagles back in Perth and they should be coming off the back of two wins.

Even the Western Force, perennial Super Rugby strugglers, have strung three wins together in their first five games of the year and have their sights firmly set on claiming a postseason berth.

To go a step further down the food chain, the Perth Scorchers claimed the 2014 Big Bash League so interest in their future endeavours will only increase.

Putting all of that into perspective, Glory are in serious danger of losing out on those who make week-to-week choices with regard to where they spend their disposable income.

Perth is a city that backs winners; when the West Coast Eagles endured a disastrous season of their own and claimed the AFL’s wooden spoon in 2010, there was a noticeable drop off in match goers, while the Wildcats continue to get big crowds to Perth Arena off the back of their strong NBL performances year-on-year.

Club officials will rightly point to the fact that Glory’s average attendance is up (9588) on 12/13 (8,840), 11/12 (8,972) and 10/11 (8,488) but that figure is thanks in large part to front-loading from the start of the season when there was much optimism around Alistair Edwards’ first full campaign in charge.

However, Edwards departed in unsavoury circumstances back in December, with Kenny Lowe installed on an interim basis.

Results have been poor since, despite three experienced players being brought in to top up the squad in January, and people have started to turn their backs on Glory.

Just 7068 showed up for the last home game against Melbourne Victory and when you compare that to 13,856 who attended the home opener against Melbourne Heart back in October, you get a massive 49% drop off.

People are voting with their feet, fed up with not only the results on the pitch, but also the off field shenanigans that have spawned regular reports and rumours surrounding unrest amongst the playing group.

This season’s disaster is a culmination of a poor few years and the Grand Final appearance of 2012 simply masked the underlying problems that have now come to the fore.

The 2013/14 season is over for Perth Glory and big decisions need to be made behind the scenes to get the club back on track.

A new full-time coach must be confirmed as soon as possible, especially with players either being signed (Nebojsa Marinkovic, Rostyn Griffiths) or heavily linked (Youssouf Hersi) for next season.

The club will have to work very, very hard in the offseason to bring back those that they have already lost and now have a fight on their hands to convince those members wavering in their loyalty to renew for 2014/15.

However, in a very competitive market where punters are spoilt for choice, a lot of the damage could be permanent.

You can vote for Neil to win Football Writer of the Year (Digital) at this year’s FFDU Awards. Details here.

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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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