Dear Perth Glory Member,
Dear Perth Glory Member,
I am writing to you personally to provide some context for recent media reports regarding comments I made about my intention to step down as owner of the Perth Glory Football Club. I would also like to take this opportunity to explain and help you understand some of the key issues surrounding the future of our beloved club.
Firstly, let me start by saying that I am first and foremost a mad, passionate Perth Glory fan and a lover of the great game of football. Nothing gives me greater pleasure and personal joy than watching our boys playing attacking and attractive football and achieving success on the pitch. On the flip side, I feel the agony and bitterness of defeat when the team loses, and like many passionate fans, I experience a roller-coaster of raw emotions throughout each season.
There are times when that passion, mixed with a healthy dose of frustration and a burning desire for improvement cause my feelings to overflow. Sometimes I speak out in response to what I regard as ignorant or ill-informed attacks on the players and coach, and other times I speak out to try and generate some excitement and buzz around the club, and get our supporters and members excited. At times like these I-ve been known to express my views openly in public, and perhaps unwisely, to the media.
Recently I made some comments in an interview which I now regret. These comments were reported correctly and in full and I know the interview created headlines in the Perth newspapers and generated a strong response from our supporters and members, but at the end of the day I now regret making the comments attributed to me and I wish to affirm my intention of remaining the owner of Perth Glory.
I regret suggesting that I intended to depart the Club, and I apologise to any members, supporters and sponsors who may have been distressed by these comments. I-d also like to thank the hundreds of Glory supporters who contacted me directly with messages of support, and the thousands who expressed their support for me through a range of social media outlets. Believe me; such support is very sincerely appreciated and certainly focused my mind on the huge amount of fans that would have been affected.
My passion for the club and my desire to see it succeed both on and off the pitch was the inspiration for me to buy the team back in 2007. Since then I have poured more than $10 million of my own money into the club to keep it solvent and competitive within the A League. Clearly the club can-t rely on me to fund its activities indefinitely and sadly, I don-t have an inexhaustible supply of money to spend on the Perth Glory.
The Hatt Review published earlier this year specifically stated that reliance on a sole benefactor to bankroll a professional football team is not a sustainable business model for Perth Glory. I strongly agree with this view and I share a belief that Perth Glory should ideally be run by a competent, independent and experienced board and professional management team that are accountable to the members and operating a profitable and sustainable business. I want the club to be able to stand on its own feet as a profitable, successful and sustainable business, and I know most of our members and fans want to see that too.
One of my goals when I bought Perth Glory was to help place the club on a sustainable business footing. In that respect I feel I have only been partially successful and I recognise that more changes are necessary to ensure a sustainable future.
One of the most important issues that need to be considered and resolved is a restructuring of the stadium deal at the soon to be enhanced NIB stadium. A new stadium deal needs to allow Perth Glory to attract new sponsors, new members and generate additional revenues from home games and most importantly, ensure members and fans enjoy modern facilities and amenities at a reasonable cost. Despite the recent increase in tickets prices, which I know was unpopular with many members, the club continues to lose substantial amounts of money each week at home games. The bottom line is that we repeatedly fail to generate sufficient income from our home games at NIB stadium to develop a sustainable income stream for the Club, and that position won-t change so long as the club remains at NIB Stadium.
Our present stadium leasing agreement does not provide Perth Glory with the financial certainty necessary to develop a sustainable business, and at present there is a distinct lack of suitable alternatives in Western Australia. While we have taken steps to improve our relationships with stadium management and owners, the bottom line is that playing games at NIB stadium is not an affordable or sustainable long-term home for our Club at the current time.
The challenge for Perth Glory is to restructure its stadium agreement, or find an alternate venue that will allow the club to provide players and coaches; fans and members with modern facilities and amenities and create an exciting and stimulating atmosphere around the club. This is a difficult challenge, which is compounded by the fact that Foxtel broadcasts Glory games live in Perth and this has a major impact on attendances at home games.
Most importantly, we need to continue growing our membership and support base and attract more people to our home games. The Club is looking at a range of innovative and exciting ideas to promote membership and attendances and I hope all true Glory Fans will do their bit to support their team and get on board.
I acknowledge that we have some of the best fans in the league, who support the club through good times and in bad and I sincerely apologise if any of these fans were hurt or upset by my comments. However, my reaction was aimed at a small minority of fans and my comments stand, as there is no need for personal attacks on me and my family.
Lastly, I would like to make comment on our coach, Ian Ferguson, who in my view has come under extreme and at times unwarranted pressure. Ian, in my view, is a coach who, together with his coaching staff, is doing his utmost to bring success to Perth Glory. He has assembled a playing squad that we would all agree has the potential to be a major force in the A-League in seasons to come.
Ian has spent considerable time in the off-season, and in the early parts of the season, ensuring his squad play an attacking and positive brand of football, and I think he has been successful in this respect, with the team playing a better brand of football, albeit we have not always seen the benefit of this improved play on the scoreboard.
While not to be taken as an excuse for losses, we have been unlucky at times and experienced injury to a number of our first team players (and in some cases their replacements), which has significantly affected our ability to create continuity and structure in our playing style. Regardless of this fact, we will continue to work hard, with our goal in every encounter being to win.
I know that despite reports to the contrary Ian has the full backing of his players, which you can see from their efforts on the pitch, and I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to Ian.
Again, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to Perth Glory and to apologise for the comments I made to the media. I am a passionate football supporter, which at times sees me make comments to the media that are unhelpful.
Kind regards ,
Tony Sage Chairman Perth Glory Football Club