Perth Glory Fans: Time For Change

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Long-time Perth Glory fan Blayne Treadgold gives a rousing call to arms to all A-League fans in the West.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got”. Never before has a quote rung so true for Perth Glory fans…

A small but defiant group of Perth Glory fans let their views known during the club’s last home game against Melbourne City. With message banners such as “#Sageout”, “No Future with Sage” and “Back the Team, Sack the Board” it was evident how some fans feel about the current situation.

At the end of a tumultuous season, Glory finished their year with a bitter-sweet 3-1 win over City followed by a gutsy 2-1 away win over the lowly Western Sydney Wanderers; a small spark to finish the season where full credit must be given to Kenny Lowe and the playing group.

It could have been very easy to roll over and say it’s all too hard but to they played with a sense of defiance and showed great character in the way they played and also the way they conducted themselves during Perth Glory’s darkest hour. For this and their successful season on the park the coaching staff and playing group deserve to be commended.

In the weeks preceding the final A-League matches it was announced that Glory would accept the punishments from FFA after they found the club was found guilty of “deliberate concealment” of payments and benefits.

A strange decision from the club who are, as far as I am aware, still protesting their innocence.

Former Chief Executive Officer, Jason Brewer handed in his resignation which followed Tony Sage’s statement that if Glory were found guilty of breaking the salary cap then Brewer would be expected to resign.

In a joint statement from the FFA and Perth Glory:

“We understand that Tony Sage has today accepted the resignation of the former CEO, who has accepted full responsibility and acted alone, and we will work with Tony to ensure that Perth Glory rebuilds and has processes in place to ensure this does not happen again.”

Even though some of the salary cap related issues in question, namely undeclared benefits to players, actually occurred before Jason Brewer was at the club…. Scratching your head? Yep, me too!

$500,000 is the alleged amount that Perth Glory spent over the salary cap. Now what kind of successful businessman, as well as chartered account, doesn’t realise he is spending half a million dollars more in this season than in previous seasons? Yep, I’m still scratching as well…

So apparently Jason Brewer acted alone, “over-spent” the salary cap this season. He deceived the fans, players, staff and “possibly” his boss and the owner of the club. In another strange looking decision, it has been reported that Brewer could keep working at Cape Lambert Iron Ore which he is a director of. Cape Lambert Iron Ore is owned by? You guessed it, Mr Tony Sage.

Over the past few of weeks fans have sifted through club and made public statements and blatant denials in an attempt to try and make sense and find some sort of truth to the goings on at Perth Glory. Still, we are none the wiser as the contradictions and baffling decisions still seem to be holding fast yet according to Glory and FFA all matters regarding Salary Cap breaches has been resolved and the matter is finished with.

As a full paying season ticket holder and a fan of the club since 1997 I refuse to believe we have found any sort of concluding outcome to this, or any other matter regarding the inept administration that is currently in charge. In reality, it’s created far more questions than answers, questions which the fans are due a number of explanations.

As Chairman of the Perth Glory board and owner of Perth Glory (under a franchise license agreement with the FFA) it seems absolutely extraordinary that Tony Sage and the other members of the board had absolutely no knowledge of what has been going on regarding player payments. Are they trying to tell us that members of the board have never, in three years, asked to see the books and make sure all the numbers balance, after all it is their job to oversee the running of the club is it not? Did the members of the board know what was going on? Or was it a matter of total incompetence? Either way, in this fan’s eyes, they need to go.

My first taste of Perth Glory was in the summer of 1997, I went along as part of a charity group event. As a 13-year-old Aussie who was brought up with AFL in the suburbs I had never seen anything like it other than on the television. As the months and years went on, attending matches started to become more and more of frequent event. Having mates with a European background helped the “code conversion” and before too long the love affair began with the game and with the Perth Glory Football Club.

After 16-odd years of passionate support for the club unfortunately the love affair started to dwindle. A total lack of professionalism, public displays of blatant incompetence from administration and back-room staff, hours’ worth of lip service explanations on various issues, years of witnessing a total lack of accountability from the owner/chairman/board/administration, being found guilty by the FFA of blatant cheating and then have the club try to lie and deceive the fans about it.

All of these examples have contributed to poor public and media relations, lack of visible integrity within the club and have permanently destroyed the once proud reputation of the club and its supporters.

Despite this, through thick and thin, many die-hard fans have stuck with the club. Many [including myself] are still backing the Tony Sage regime but even for die-hard fans there is only so many lip-service explanations one can take and only so much false hope that one can muster before it dissipates completely.

For many it has already happened. Many die-hard fans have moved on from passionately supporting Perth Glory as they once did. Under Tony Sage’s ownership it almost seems like we are waiting for the annual controversy, the next blunder from the administration which could send us over the edge. For me, I found the edge last season and I’ve been hanging on tightly ever since.

In March of 2014, I co-penned an open letter along with numerous other Perth Glory fans. The letter made its way to the media and into the public in the form of an article on The Australian website.

The letter was met with a certain disgust and regret from certain fans and the club where I was duly slated for it. I put my hand up and stated I have absolutely no regrets on the content of the letter but possibly had my own reservations on the deliverance.

The letter outlined the club’s lack of professionalism, lack of accountability and labelled Glory as “a club in crisis” and “dysfunctional”. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? For the record, within the past month, I have received numerous apologies from a number of those who disagreed with the letter.

In 2016 Perth Glory Football Club will celebrate 20 years since the club was inaugurated. For the fans it’s time to stand up and demand new ownership and a new board. We need to unite and push this club into a new era with a new direction towards long-term sustainable success.

As fans we should be looking forward to our next period of success, not dreading another embarrassing blunder. If Perth Glory fans are too blasé to show publicly that we want change at our club then we get only what we deserve. It’s time to strive for better!

It is time for fans to demand that Football Federation Australia, as the governing body of the A-League, revoke Tony Sage’s ownership of Perth Glory in the best interests of the Perth Glory, the league, sponsors and most importantly the die-hard fans.

If these much needed changes are to be accomplished it must be driven by the people who are going to stick with the club through thick and thin. Owners, players, CEO’s and board members come and go but it’s the most loyal of fans that will support the club for lifetimes and possibly generations.

Have a think about what kind of future you want for Perth Glory because at the end of the day, if as fans we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will keep getting what we have always got.

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