The great thing about sport is that often it simply comes down to opinions; sometimes the majority agrees and sometimes they don’t.
Many in the west feel that Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson was hard done by missing out on the Hyundai A-League coach of the year award.
The feeling in the west being that the turnaround the Ian Ferguson managed to oversee was, in modern football terms, remarkable. Last season, the team finished ninth out of eleven, and he only managed two wins in 21 games after taking over from Dave Mitchell in Round 10.
This season after the club’s best start ever, Perth Glory’s season looked to have imploded and they slipped to just one win in ten games and many were calling for the coach’s head, but that was when he had that little ounce of luck every coach needs. Remember Alex Ferguson’s FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest in the 1989/90 semi final and subsequent victory 1-0 over Crystal Palace in a replay after a 3-3 draw? These were results that many believe saved his career at Old Trafford.
In Round 14 against the Newcastle Jets, Ferguson’s team was beset with injuries and suspensions and he was forced to play Steve Pantelidis in defence, and Steve McGarry up front with Shane Smeltz. These two players changed the course of Perth Glory’s season, as they then went eight games unbeaten and gained the momentum that saw them finish third.
Ferguson’s achievement has also been remarkable in light of the fact that in the background there were many at the club who did not really want him to succeed.
What he did do, aided by his captain Jacob Burns, was build up a barricade between the playing and coaching staff and everyone else. Burns proved the perfect foil for Ferguson on the park, reflecting the coach’s same winning mentality and has had his best season yet in Glory colours.
Both captain and coach may not have won many friends around town or even among Perth Glory fans yet they have delivered where it matters, on the park.