Perth Glory FC will wind the clock back to 1996 this Saturday night, when it will host the Central Coast Mariners in its opening Hyundai A-League match at nib Stadium.
It will be almost 20-years to the day, since Perth Glory’s original team, led by skipper Gareth Naven and inaugural coach Gary Marocchi battled against UTS Olympic at Perth Oval on October 13 1996.
While Glory lost the match 4-1, it will be remembered for the strong passionate crowd, Alan Mackenzie’s first club goal and the dawn of a new era in Western Australian sport.
This weekend, the club will pay tribute to the stars, coaches and administrators from the “Team of ’96” who will all be presented with a Heritage Jersey (modelled on the original shirt) before kick-off.
The Jersey will be presented by the club's current and former owners.
The commemorative Heritage Kit will be worn by the team against the Mariners this Saturday night to pay homage to its 20th anniversary season.
The match will also lay the backdrop to a unique Members' Banner, which will be erected on the stadium fencing. Thousands of names will be printed on the banner in recognition of the loyal and passionate Perth Glory supporters who’ve stuck by the club through thick and thin.
The crowd will also be encouraged to stand and applaud in the 20th minute of the match as part of the 20-year festivities.
Four times club MGP (Most Glorious Player), and inaugural Johnny Warren medallist Bobby Despotovski, said he was proud and excited to see the club pay respect to the golden years.
“It’s nice to see the club doing the right thing and paying respect to the original team” he said.
“Perth Glory was the talk of the town during the NSL (National Soccer League) and it’s timely that now, in the club’s 20th anniversary the players, coaches and administrators will be honoured this way."
Club captain Rostyn Griffiths said he was honoured to be one of 14 home-grown players in the current line-up in the club’s milestone year.
“It’s the perfect storm. A lot of the boys have played with each other growing up and this opportunity may never come again” he said.
“There’s an element of romance and nostalgia in the air and I know a lot of the boys are keen to do well in what is a big year for the club” Griffiths added.
Glory kicks-off its clash against the Mariners on Saturday night at 7pm, in the first of two home matches.
Tickets can be purchased HERE