It shouldn’t need an independent review to tell people what’s wrong with Perth Glory, the evidence has been there all season. However a report looking at the club, which was undertaken by Western Australian sporting administrator David Hatt, has listed a number of important specifics that need to be addressed in order for Glory to survive, never mind progress.
Four main areas of concern from Hatt’s report have been made public so far:
1. Combined training and administration facility
Currently Glory train at AK Reserve while their administrative offices are in West Leederville, some 15 to 20 minutes drive away. Hatt does not believe this to be a workable arrangement and it has created a physical division between the football and administration departments, which negatively impacted on communication within the club and overall culture.
The review states that a key priority for the club should be, together with peak football body Football West, to establish a combined training and administration facility for the code in Western Australia.
Football West has given its full support to the report.
“Football West and Perth Glory were the first state federation and A-League club to enter into a cooperative agreement to work with each other for the mutual benefit of the sport and since then, we have both created a number of initiatives,” said Chief Executive Peter Hugg.
“Whilst many of the recommendations clearly relate to the conduct of the club and its day to day operations there are clearly several benefits to the local football scene. These include a more definitive pathway for our local State League players into the A-League and more community programs that will undoubtedly benefit our younger players throughout the state.”
2. Football Division
Glory Chairman Tony Sage this week committed himself to the club, and at the same time relieved Director of Football Dave Mitchell of his duties based on the review. Hatt’s report suggests that there is too big a divide within the club (between the first and youth teams for example).
He believes that the football department should be structured in such a way as to ensure a clear “chain of command” with the Head Coach establishing clear performance goals for players and staff, and ensuring they are monitored and reported on regularly.
A leadership group was highly recommended along with a Code of Conduct, and Glory has already confirmed that these will be actioned during the off season.
One of the more notable recommendations involved enlisting the services of a sports psychologist to assist in player profiling prior to recruitment, and to support players with their mental approach and the interaction between coaches and players.
3. Player Recruitment
Glory are notorious for their recruitment of over 30s, and this has continued in recent weeks with the confirmed acquisitions for 2011 of Travis Dodd (aged 31) and Dean Heffernan (30). Already contracted for the season are Jacob Burns (32), Mile Sterjovski (31), Victor Sikora (32), Steve McGarry (31), Chris Coyne (32) and Brank Jelic (33), while Robbie Fowler (35) is also keen to remain in purple.
“There is no doubt that recruitment over the past two years has been largely unsuccessful,” says Hatt.
“More needs to be done in the recruitment area to guard against the presence of players who simply seek a superannuated end to their careers. There is nothing more important than good recruiting outcomes for the Perth Glory in its present state.”
Consequently, Hatt believes that Glory needs to establish an exhaustive needs analysis which identifies the deficiencies in the current player group and also identifies a best case scenario for the club.
Youth should be the priority with stringent testing implemented when recruiting, while all signings in general should be subject to rigorous physical checks.
Glory has yet to announce any planned actions for this particular area.
4. Key Stakeholders
While there are existing relationships between Glory and various key stakeholders including the FFA and Football West, Hatt suggests that they could be enhanced further. With the latter he says “more should be done to inform FFA as to the significant cost impositions of some of their league-wide requirements (particularly related to travel and home ground requirements) to ensure all clubs have an equal ‘playing field’.”
Recommendations include re-establishing links with football’s various stakeholders to ensure outcomes are aligned and mutually beneficial, developing a program to identify talented youth, and promoting Perth Glory in major regions of the state.
Tony Sage believes that the review as a whole is a positive move forward for the club as the mistakes from the past can be acknowledged publicly and corrected.
“This review was not about blame, it was about having an honest look at ourselves and determining what actions needed to be taken to ensure the Perth Glory regained its position as one of the WA’s leading sporting teams and a credible force in the A-League,” he says.
“We are drawing a line in the sand for Perth Glory and moving forward with a revitalised spirit and a new and positive direction,”
All the findings of the report are of course great on paper, even if they are obvious to the most casual observer, but whether action is sufficiently taken is another thing.
No doubt there are plenty of understandably cynical Glory supporters who will take everything said with a generous helping of salt.
This story first appeared on the always excellent The Football Sack.