Two sides to the Glory coin

by Ashley Morrison on Nov 20, 2011

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Are Perth Glory fans stuck in the past or just seeing things as they really are?

To celebrate the club’s 15th birthday – an odd event given it is an insignificant milestone – fans were asked to name their “Glorious Line Up” based on all of the players who have taken to the field for the club in that time.

Seven members of the Glory’s first premiership winning side in the old NSL made the starting XI: Jason Petkovic, Scott Miller, Jamie Harnwell, Matt Horsley, Edgar Junior, Damian Mori and Bobby Despotivski. All are names that are undoubtedly etched in the club’s history as superb servants during those successful times.

Inaugural skipper Gareth Naven who epitomised the ‘never-say-die’ attitude of the Glory in the team’s early days also, unsurprisingly, made the side. His leadership was exemplary both on and off the pitch and he has proved a hard act to follow.

The wizard of the deadball, and true entertainer Con Boutsianis also made the starting XI. He may not have been the coach’s favourite player but he was undoubtedly a fan favourite.

Now comes the crux, only two players to play for the club since the A-League’s inception, which let us remember is meant to be a superior competition, made the starting XI. The two players were Scott Neville who plays with his heart on his sleeve and is without question proud to represent his hometown club, and import Andy Todd.

Todd was all class in his first season at Perth Glory and it was no surprise that he claimed all of the end of season awards. He was an excellent acquisition, and no one questioned the club re-signing him. However an injury in pre-season meant that last campaign he was chasing his tail to replicate that form.

As the honest Todd admitted, at his age when you miss pre-season, or a fair chunk of it, you are always going to struggle with such a short season.

There are several issues that this online poll raises. One being the question, are Glory fans stuck in the past and like the club have failed to move into the new era of A-League football?

This seems unlikely as the fans from those earlier days are less likely to participate in online polls, due the age demographic, however their children may well. This suggests that a child’s hero remains with the passing of time, and thus why it is so important to have children coming to games, and becoming addicted, from an early age, as they are tomorrow’s fans.

This poll highlights another thing, the lack of impressive players brought to the club during the A-League era have made. Nikita Rukavytsya was the only local boy to make the bench alongside Vas Kalogeracos, Vinko Buljabasic and Ivan Ergic.

Maybe it also highlights what previous coaches Ron Smith and Dave Mitchell claimed, how hard it was to tempt young talent across the Nullabor to Perth, now that they can earn equal money on the east coast.

Ian Ferguson has managed to lure some proven talent west for this season, but only Danny Vukovic and Evan Berger could be classed as young in footballing terms.

It may have been an exercise as part of the 15 year celebrations, but this poll reveals a lot about where the Glory have come from, and where they are now. Hopefully those messages will be heeded and in 15 years’ time the club’s most glorious team will feature players from the decade ahead.