December 1 2015 marks Perth Glory Football Club’s 20th birthday. PG News takes a look back at how the tale of Perth Glory FC unfolded.
It’s hard to imagine that when Perth Glory FC was founded 20 years ago it would have such a tremendous impact on Western Australia’s sporting landscape.
The boys from the West were the dominant team of the latter stages of the National Soccer League, achieving the following:
- Three (3) Premiers Plates (1999/00, 2001/02, 2003/04)
- Appeared in four (4) NSL Grand Finals
- Won back-to-back championships (2002/03 and 2003/04)
What started out as a brand which identified with a single men’s team now boasts three teams under the one Glory. The club now operates the following teams:
- Hyundai A-League team
- Westfield W-League Women’s team
- National Youth League (NYL)/National Premier League (NPL) teams
- NPL teams from Under 12s through Under 16s
This clearly demonstrates not only a change of the times but also a concerted effort to build a proper talent pathway for the future to help shape tomorrow’s stars.
While there had been a lot of talk and speculation about Perth fielding a team in the NSL, dating back to the late 1970s the project didn't get off the ground.
That all changed however, when Perth businessmen Nick Tana and Paul Afkos partnered to become co-owners of the new NSL franchise.
"The secret was in the calibre of the people, the colours, the name and to emulate what we had seen overseas and in the eastern states with a non-ethnic based club” recalled an excited Tana.
Perth Glory FC was officially launched on December 1 in 1995, by former WA Premier Richard Court and the late Socceroos coach Eddie Thomson at the Burswood Dome.
Vas Kalogeracos, Bobby Despotovksi, Tommy Maras, Vince Mattassa, Gareth Naven were all well-known players at the local level but they were about to step up and become icons and idols to thousands of budding football stars around the nation.
“It was a long time coming and gave WA players the opportunity to compete amongst the country’s best” said Glory’s inaugural coach Gary Marocchi.
“It was an unbelievable experience, one I will never forget some of the great matches played in that period and memorable goals scored” he added.
Marocchi, a former Socceroos captain was an obvious choice according to Tana to lead the competition’s newest kid on the block.
“He had worn the green and gold, he was a local born talent and really it was a no brainer”.
“We were playing in front of 15-thousand people when every other club was playing in front of one to three thousand fans. We became pub-talk, hairdresser-talk and taxi-talk and when you become that, you know you’re doing something right – and we proved to everyone on the east coast wrong.”
One of the legends of the club and current Perth Glory Women coach Bobby Despotovski was plying his trade on the east coast.
When news of Perth Glory’s formation broke, Despotovski didn’t think twice about coming back home.
“At the time if you wanted to play in the NSL you had to go over east and do so. So I was over east playing for Heidelberg United in Melbourne in the NSL when at that time our coach Gary Marocchi and General Manager Roger Lefort approached me to come back and sign for Glory which I did without even thinking about and the rest is history as they say”.
“To be able to play in your city in front your family, friends and loyal local supporters was one of the best experiences" he said.
"To see expressions of joy and happiness on the faces of our supporters after the win was all worthwhile, all the hard work the club put in was for that one moment and that will stay with me forever. Paul Afkos and Nick Tana deserve a big thanks for setting up one of the biggest clubs in Australia but I also want to thank Tony Sage for continuing his support for the club”.
Sage has been the club’s sole owner and chairman since 2009. During his tenure Perth Glory FC has reached:
- 2011/12 Grand Finalist
- Finalist in the first two (2) FFA Cups:
- 2014 and 2015
“On behalf of the club I’d like to thank the fans and members for their support over the past two decades. While that first piece of silverware in the A-League still eludes us, I can assure you that all of us (players and staff) are committed to bring the Glory days back and make this club a powerhouse once again” Sage said.
Next year the club will commemorate the inaugural team and players with a host of special events to pay tribute to Glory’s 20th season in competition.
“This celebration will be the ‘Who’s Who’ in Australian football” said CEO, Peter Filopoulos.
“When you look at some of the names that have worn the Perth Glory jersey over 20 years, there are some big names of Australian football on that list”
For a trip down memory lane CLICK HERE to see some of the images from Glory’s past.