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The Edge Of Glory [FM12]

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Prelude

First career story by FM player who has been playing since CM97. I skipped FM11 and went straight from 10 to 12. I normally only play one

save game. My game in FM10 went on until 2050 - I’m hoping the same will happen with this game too.

If anyone has any recommendations, thoughts or comments please feel free to add :-)

The Game

After a high profile career of international football spanning over a decade the next logical step is to move into management. Unlike some well known players I decided that it would be much better to earn my badges and take at least 2 years out of the game to get a more in depth

understanding of what really makes a difference in the football environment. After the two years out the time was right to enter management, the question was, where do I go? The philosophy would be simple - play attractive football, try to establish a viable business model for each

football club I manage and move on once as many challanges have been won as possible.

Why Perth?

I decided that to be the best you need to start pretty much at the bottom. No disrespect to Perth Glory or the A-League, this is after all a league

where there is a lot of potential and the Asian Champions League is something that should be within reach, even with a salary cap hindering

Australian clubs compared to other rich Asian leagues. During a holiday in Australia I was contacted by the chairman of the club who asked if

I’d like a tour of the facilities. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had accepted a verbal contract offer, which included a house& company car (a Holden Commodore naturally) thrown in.

Signed sealed and delivered, it was time to work out objectives and take stock of what I had and was against. The aim wa to win the

Asian Champions League after 4 years (this is similar to the Sir Clive Woodward school of management). I was happy to note that we had one of the best goalkeepers in the league and Shane Smeltz as our marque, who had good A-League experience. Sure, a Harry Kewell or

Dwight Yorke may pull in more punters, but having proven goalscoring experience in this league is more important. It is fair to say that my

predecessor had assembled a good squad, and as such I didn’t initially feel the need to bring in any players.

The pre-season did not start off well at all. I decided in my infinite wisdom that it would be a good idea to invite Athletico Mineiro, a top

Brazilian club over for a match. With limited tactical knowledge and understanding of my players, we had a very poor 4-0 thumping.

This also costed us £160k. The next game was against Botafogo and we had a fairly credible 1-1 draw (well credible compared to our previous effort). Naturally Smeltz was our goalscorer, which was a little bit re-assuring early on. Having spent about £250k on friendlies and only

reaping a small proportion of this, it was determined that expensive friendlies were not the way forward unfortunately. Between 20th August

and 2nd October we played 8 friendlies versus local Western Australian teams, which yielded 7 wins and 1 draw. Ideally I would have liked to

play other A-League teams or major Asian teams for proper squad evaluation and monetary advantages but unfortunately the board would

either not sanction it, or the opposition would charge too much to play us.

Over the summer 3 players were brought in, 16 year old Defensive Midfielder Steven Ugarkovic, 21 year old striker Milos Lujic and 20 year old left back Giorgio Speranza. Its fair to say that they were all brought in for cover and to give me an idea for how good my newly appointed

scouts were, who had recommended each of them. Interestingly, initially my board didn't feel i needed scouts; however I signed 3 anyway as

to me they are indispensable.

Our season started with a hard fought 2-1 home victory versus Adelaide. Veterans Sterjovski and Coyne, both of whom I think offer a great deal to the squad in terms of ability and experience were the scorers. just over 10,000 people were in attendance - not bad, maybe we’re on to

good things here! The following match was a 3-1 versus Melbourne Heart and then a 0-0 versus Wellington Phoenix. I didn't think things were

going too bad. 3 games, 7 points - omnomnom. However, next up it was the mighty Central Coast Mariners, who are the overachievers of

Australia it seems. We lost away 3-2.

The rest of the season was fairly up and down. High and low lights include a 5-2 win at home to Gold Coast, a 3-0 loss to Melbourne

(that pesky Kewell was a scorer). Wins at home versus Central Coast and Brisbane (both 3-2) were much appreciated. In the end we finished

2nd overall to Brisbane Roar (54 points to 52). We were 1 point ahead of Wellington Phoenix. Central Coast were the next team with 45 points.

Date Time Opposition TV Venue Result Competition

Mon, 15.8.2011 15:00 Atlético Mineiro H 0 - 4 Friendly

Thu, 18.8.2011 15:00 Botafogo H 1 - 1 Friendly

Sat, 20.8.2011 15:00 Floreat Athena A 6 - 1 Friendly

Sun, 28.8.2011 15:00 Balcatta A 3 - 0 Friendly

Wed, 31.8.2011 19:00 UWA-Nedlands FC A 3 - 0 Friendly

Mon, 12.9.2011 19:00 Fremantle Spirit A 2 - 0 Friendly

Thu, 15.9.2011 19:00 Western Knights A 3 - 0 Friendly

Wed, 21.9.2011 19:00 Perth SC A 3 - 0 Friendly

Sun, 25.9.2011 15:00 SC Sorrento A 1 - 1 Friendly

Sat, 1.10.2011 15:00 Kingsway A 1 - 0 Friendly

Sun, 9.10.2011 15:00 Adelaide United FC TV H 2 - 1 Hyundai A-League

Sun, 16.10.2011 15:00 Melbourne Heart FC TV A 3 - 1 Hyundai A-League

Sun, 23.10.2011 15:00 Wellington Phoenix TV H 0 - 0 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 29.10.2011 15:00 Central Coast Mariners TV A 2 - 3 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 5.11.2011 15:00 Newcastle United Jets TV A 2 - 1 Hyundai A-League

Sun, 20.11.2011 15:00 Melbourne Victory FC TV A 0 - 3 Hyundai A-League

Wed, 23.11.2011 19:00 Sydney FC TV H 1 - 3 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 26.11.2011 15:00 Brisbane Roar FC TV A 1 - 0 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 3.12.2011 15:00 Gold Coast United TV H 5 - 2 Hyundai A-League

Wed, 7.12.2011 19:00 Sydney FC TV A 1 - 0 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 10.12.2011 15:00 Wellington Phoenix TV A 1 - 2 Hyundai A-League

Sat, 17.12.2011 15:00 Melbourne Heart FC TV H 3 - 1 Hyundai A-League

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Our first playoff was against Brisbane at home. Worryingly we drew 2-2. I was concerned about the 2 away goals. We cant complain at an

attendance of just over 15,000 though - its fair to say the bank were appreciative of this. The away leg was played at Brisbane a week later.

Despite the pre-match concerns we ended up winning 4-1 for a 6-3 overall aggregate. Unexpected, but much appreciated - we were in the final and would be playing at home too. The final was played 2 weeks later. I was thinking that maybe we should play at Subiacco and get a nice

30+k crowd, however its fair to say that we are not there yet… And in a way I am happy we didn’t do that as the resulting final was one of the most one sided in history - a dismal 5-0 defeat versus Central Coast in front of 17k home fans. Whilst I was hugely disappointed by this, its

fair to say that I was happy with a Grand Final appearance in my first year and it showed that on the whole we have a good group.

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Having said that, clearly more work is required on a number of levels. Our Youth Team did not perform especially well in the league and financially we are losing an incredible amount of money.

Of the new signings for the season, only Lujic played 4 games with no goals scored so its fair to say that I was dubious about my scouts and

their recommendations.

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2012-2013

For the offseason, a number of changes took place. Early on I signed a new scout with a judging player ability of 14, which I feel is very

important. I immediately asked him to get scouting across the A-League with the intention of finding young players out of contract that I can stick in the Youth Team and develop either into players that I can mould into my system for First Team duties, or sell at a profit - if I can do both then even better! I brought in a new Assistant Manager, 2 new coaches and a goalkeeping coach to try and increase the standard in our back room.

As such, 5 such young players immediately joined me in June.

Luke O’Dea (MC/AMC, 19) from Melbourne Victory,

Curtis Good (DC, 19) from Melbourne Heart,

Tom Rogic (MC/AMC, 19) from Central Coast,

Sam Gallagher (DC 19) from Central Coast and

Chris Harold (FC 20) from Central Coast.

These were later followed up by:

Ryan Griffiths (SC, 31) who was at Newcastle,

Michael Thwaite (DRC 29) from Gold Coast,

Milan Susak (DC 28) on loan from Tianjin (who was a real capture),

Dylan Tombides (SC 19) from West Ham,

Giancarlo Gallifuoco (DC 18) from Tottenham),

Jamie Maclaren (ST 19) from Blackburn,

Aryn Williams (DC 19) from Burley,

Scott Chipperfield (MC 36) from Basel

James Holland (MC/SC 23) from Central Coast.

Of the signings, I was most excited by Thwaite, Susak and Chipperfield. The youngsters may play, but I see them as players for the future. These 3 have experience and skill. Although Chiperfield was ridiculously old, his stats were good and he would be a good player to have when defending leads late in the game.

We lost a couple of players, influential AMC Andrezinho was loaned to Gremio for £75k, with a future fee of £100k. We needed the money to be

honest, and he had never been completely settled. Its fair to say that I was taken off some fan’s christmas card lists after that decision.

Jacob Burns, Chris Coyne also left and Bas Van Den Brink was sold for £60k. My strategy was starting to take shape - bring in younger players

and start to develop a core squad.

Having learnt from lessons of last season, pre-season friendlies were again only against local WA sides. In all we played 11 friendlies - we won 9 and drew 2.

Again a fantastic start to the season with a 2-1 win at home versus Adelaide and a 3-0 home victory versus Melbourne Victory. Attendance for

both was about 10k, which is not ideal. I’d like to start getting 13k+ so that we can start to get closer to at least breaking even. Thinking I had a

great squad and that we could be invincible this year I took my foot off the accelerator and in our 4th game we lost 2-1 at home to Gold Coast.

It is fair to say the lads got a severe hiding and I had a reality check. Following this they learnt their lesson and we went 11 games without losing and conceded just one goal. Again I took my foot off the accelerator, this time against Melbourne Heart and we lost 1-0. We even had a strong

squad playing so I cant blame injuries - just pure incompetence and Heart wanting the win more. This took us on a 6 game streak without winning, which cost us the title. Results were up and down after this and we ended up 3rd behind Central Coast and Adelaide. We should not have finished so low - we had a good squad and severely underachieved.

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More worryingly we were 11 points away from Central Coast.

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We lost 2-1 in extra time in a home playoff match against Gold Coast. We should never have lost it. This was a season where I feel that we took

a back step when we should have moved forward. Next season needs to be much better!! The Youth team finished 5th. Again, no improvement

there either.

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2013-2014

In the off season it was revealed that we lost £1.5m, which on a turnover of £5.1m is outrageous. Something needs to be done to improve this area of the club - we need to finish in the top 2 and enter the hopefully lucrative Asian Champions League.

11 players left, including experienced Travis Dodd and Steve Pantelididis. Scott Chipperfield retired after a year with us where he produced some great displays. His experience and skill would be missed. 10 players were brought in. Again some were youngsters, however this time I was conscious that there were games where we did not score enough goals. We were relying too much on Shane Smeltz as a goal-scorer. Ryan Griffiths was brought in to try and help him last year but he only managed 4 goals which was incredibly disappointing.

Sean Rooney (23 SC from Deltras),

Oliver Bozanic (MC 24) from Central Coast,

Zenon Caravella (MC 30) from Adelaide

Sasa Ognenovski (34 DC) from Wellington Phoenix

Thodoros Topalidis (17 DC) from Heidelberg

Tahj Minniecon (24 SC) from Gold Coast

Aleksandar Vrteski (25 GK) from PS Cirebon, previously on trial at Melbourne Victory

Nick Carle (MC AMC 31) from Sydney

Pavel Pogrebnyak (30 SC) from Fulham

Mitch Nichols (24 AMC SC) from Brisbane Roar.

I am excited by Minniecon and Nichols particularly. I would say that this has been a very aggressive recruiting strategy this season with a view to sorting out the issues that we had last season. How Pogrebnyak would fair I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to give him a go, and I felt there was the potential to reap some money from selling him in a year or two.

Pre season again had 11 friendlies with 9 victories and 2 draws.

We had a reality check in our first game, which was at home to Melbourne Victory. Just over 11,000 people turned up to watch a 1-0 defeat. Words were had, and the result was a 4-3 victory away to Wellington 4 days later. To concede 3 goals was annoying, but to score 4 away from home was good none the less. A 6-1 hammering of Gold Coast away followed by a 1-0 victory at home to Sydney had me a little happier.

We then went on a 14 game unbeaten streak, which was only ended up a 2-1 defeat away to Brisbane Roar on 11th January.

The exciting news for January was the signing of two big (but incredibly expensive) players.

Bruce Djite (27 SC) from Adelaide

Milan Susak (30 DLC) from Tianjin

Perth Glory fans were already well aware of Susak’s abilities after his loan spell last year, and Djite (in my eyes anyway) is a bit of an A-League legend. We’d had him on trial during the summer but other A-league clubs kept coming in with better offers for him via the Marque system. Unfortunately those clubs already had marque players and so the transfers couldn't be completed. To get both players was a bit of a feat in my opinion. However, the key word is expensive unfortunately.

After the Brisbane game we finished the season undefeated - two loses in a year, who can complain at that??

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So the next step was to defeat second placed Central Coast Mariners home and away. We won 2-0 away from home, which was a fantastic result and really gave us the momentum, but then lost 1-0 at home in front of just over 15k fans. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, especially as we needed to show these fans that they should part with their money again for a grand final at home in 2 weeks time.

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As it turned out, we had to play Central Coast Mariners again in the Grand Final. This team really had good players. Their successes considering the size of the club had to be admired. They had already won the second round of the major semi final at Nib Stadium so I was a little bit worried.

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However, this was our season. In fariness considering our salary advantage over the other clubs we should have won it by a far more convincing manor. In the end the impressive Zenon Caravella scored our only goal in the game, but we put the demons of 2012 behind us and won on penalties.

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I asked earlier who could complain at us only losing 2 games in a season. The answer was the bank it seems. It was no lie that the club was £5 million in the red, and my signings had been expensive from a wage perspective. We were the highest spending team by £1 million in terms of salary, however we had not spent any money on transfers.We were a few weeks away from administration. Luckily the chairman put in £275k into the business. Did it help? Not really… The club gobbled it up in about sixty seconds.

I’ve bee reading about the state of finances in the A-League with much interest recently, with North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast recently departing the league and Newcastle Jets in limbo. I couldn’t believe it, the league seemed like it might be a financially viable prospect, but yet something is fundamentally wrong. Last season I’d made the decision not to pay out agents fees and loyalty bonuses where possible, which saved around £100k, but what on earth can you do to try and halt loses of over £1 million per season? Suggestions more than welcome.

My strategy of developing players to sell isn't working, and our attendances aren’t getting any better either. Despite signing a new 3 year contract, I was a bit apprehensive as to where the team should go next…

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2015-2016 Season 5

I have now caught up with where i am at in the game at the moment. The last couple of posts have been retrospective descriptions I’m afraid :-(

So, after being a match away from the sack as reporters put it, it was time to re-focus. In the last 4 years I’d had offers of a new job in Bolton, Cardiff and Spain and rejected them all because the time wasn’t right. Is the time right now? To some fans, and to a certain extent, the board’s mind this would be the ideal time as things have got stale. However, I disagreed and pledged to continue. Mistakes have been made, successes have been achieved - This year coming up is all about retrenchment and starting again. To that extent, we offered a couple of players who the media had reported were generating interest. Out the door went Bruce Djite for £200k. He’d scored 10 goals in 21 games and was very impressive. Promising striker James Holland went for a record £550k. He was the one that the fans were most aggrieved about. Promising 21 year old Czech Tomas Snajdr (MC) was sold to St.Johnstone after just one season. This told me a few things - Perth Glory players are sellable, and it is worth scouting players that other teams trial and then pinching them from under their noses (Snajdr had been on trial with Sydney, I’d noticed and scouted him to see what the fuss was about - 4 star ability and a reportedly cheap wage demand meant he was a great capture and I made money on him. Also out the door was Michael Thwaite, who was our Marque player on £7k a week - oh that was a nice one!!!

Finally, is there light at the end of the tunnel?

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So, we’ve sold and got rid of some high flyers, time to drown and just rely on youth team players to win the title? No!! Time to get on a serious scouting offensive. In came:

Chris Winkleman (MR 16) from Glenorchy Knights

Patrik Kocourek (SWDC 19) Czec from Ceske Budejovice - on trial with Sydney FC

Danny Fenwick (DC,MC 20) from Shamrock Rovers

Steven Wood (AMR, SC 19) from Sydney Olympic

Song Jung-Ki (MC,AMC 18) from Pochul Tech High School

Adama Traore (DL 25) from Gold Coast

Robert Cornthwaite (DR,DC 29) from Brisbane Roar

Chis Payne (AMC SC 24) from Brisbane Roar

James Meredith (DL 27) from York

PAvel Panik (DC 19) Czec from Hradec Kralove - was on trial with Sydney FC

Mumar Tankovin (AMRLC 20) Swedish from Fulham

Biser Velkov (DL DC ML 19) from Pirin 2001.was on trial with Melbourne Victory

The main captures that I am interested in so far are Kocourek, who my assistant has already said is the best DC in our squad and destined for good things and Jung Ki, who at 18 is destined to be a top class player according to one of my scouts. Only time will tell, but I am hoping that they can help us in the short-long term.

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Summer Across the A-League

Brett Emerton signed for arch rivals Central Coast

Matthew Ryan was sold for £675k

Melbourne Victory were active, selling a couple of players for a combined £625k. 1 player was brought in for £500k and a second for £12k with 4 free transfers in.

Adelaide brought in a couple of players, with one of our stars Josh Mitchell signing for £7,500 per week - I’m starting to see why their finances are insecure.

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Could you post the links of some of the better players please?

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The usual pre-season friendlies went without any issues with 14 victories, 1 draw and no goals conceded. It was a similar story at the start of the A-League season, with 3 victories. 9 goals scored and 2 conceded - most pleasing of which was versus Adelaide (the second highest spending team behind us in terms of salary). Two 2-0 defeats against Melbourne Victory and Central Coast gave us that reality check that we normally seem to have a couple of games in. My new signings in central defense from the Czech republic settled in really well. There was a real air of positivity around the squad. We then went on a 13 game unbeaten run - no one seemed to have any answers for us. Even more pleasing was that our closest rivals Central Coast Mariners were not finding form. We lost 1-0 to Adelaide, which was disappointing.

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Our first venture into the Asian Champions League started well with two dominant 1-0 victories - the first at home to Pohang and second away to Nagoya Stolz. For the first time, I decided to properly rotate my squad - which was quite convenient since a lot of players have been grumbling that I have not let them play. In a way its nice that they want to play, but for me, I felt that it was important that we dominated the league early on so that we gave ourselves a cushion for when we had the extra games at the business end of the season. Fringe players such as Rooney, Minniecon, Harold, Maclaren and Cornthwaite were all used and abused and actually managed to help beat both Melbourne Heart and Sydney, which was both surprising and positive.

We sailed into the finals of the A-League with a draw away to Newcastle and a 1-0 victory at home to setup a home grand final again, damn I’m good. I told the media at the start of the season that we’d be dominant and that is exactly what we were.

Having said that, we managed to lose 2 Asian Champions League games which put our position in the group in jeapody. A final group game victory versus Guangzhou 3-1 (who were group winners) set us up for a second round game.

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Finances

At the end of the year, our chairman leant us £6million due to being almost £6million in the red.

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We seriously need to do something about our finances.

Players

As our league position showed we had some strong players. I promoted a couple of players into the senior team this year - of particular note was Wayne Hornby, Jeremy Bodo and Wayne Pomfret.

Mitch Nichols destroyed the A-League this season. He signed for a free transfer from Brisbane 3 years ago. His contract is up at the end of the season. He is on £3,100 per week at the moment but wants to be my marque at £7k per week. With cost cutting the focus I just cant do it - the same story is with our Australian Marque goalkeeper Vukovic, who wants more money as well. Unfortunately I fear they will be gone at the end of the season.

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Transfers

For the first season so far I seriously went for it in the transfer market. It was clear that we needed to raise money and had a couple of good players that could raise some cash. I lost German Steinmann for £375k, which was done completely under my nose. I can’t say I was too disappointed as it raised some cash. I signed James Brown, who (as well as being an excellent singer) was an Australian MC that I trailed in the summer but he wanted over £3.1k. I managed to sign him for £1.6k per week.

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Season 16: 2016 - 2017 ; Back in Black

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A lot of changes took place over the summer. It was clear that at least 3 of our core players would be leaving in Nichols, Vukovic and Shane Smeltz. The former 2 were coming to the end of their contracts and both wanted substantial increases in their wages (£8k a week in both cases), which unfortunately I didn’t feel we could justify. Smeltz was up for retirement and after 5 strong seasons I couldn’t complain too much. I had geared myself up to do some squad re-building, but it turned out to be much more substantial than i had anticipated.

Transfers

By losing Smeltz and Nichols I had effectively lost 22 goals from last season - that wouldn’t be easy to replace. My transfer strategy has changed in the past year - whereas previously I had gone for experienced & expensive proven Australians I now look for young European players with strong current and potential ability who can help me out for a season or two and be sold for huge profits. These players are either scouted or stolen from other A-League clubs who have been trialling them. Melbourne Victory and Sydney are particularly good at finding these types of players. Two of these examples from last season were both sold in the summer. My two young Czech central defenders Panik and Kocourek were sold to Inverness and Dundee Utd (£900k and £750k respectively). They had both had great seasons and obviously impressed in the Asian Champions League group stages because they generated lots of interest. The money was a huge help for us and put us back in the black financially. Although it is not the way that I like to go about things - I want to build this club to have the best facilities and players in the long term, but to do that I need significant short term gains. That’s just how business works - and I think Newcastle United fans will find this out this summer in real life.

The loss of the previously mentioned players meant that I effectively needed to start again, and bring a few good quality players that can go straight into the first team and a few that can do this and potentially be sold at the end of the season. Work started straight away and the following were brought in:

Kofi Danning (AMRC 25) from Brisbane

Nicholas Kalmar (MC/AMC 29) from MElbourne Heart

Josh Mitchell (DLC 32) from Adelaide (was previously with us before a year at Adelaide)

Jack Hingert (DRDL 26) from Brisbane Roar

Ben Kennedy (GK 29) from Newcastle Jets

Peter Pancik ( MC 19) Slovakia

Alan (ALMSC 20) Brazilian, was on trial with Brisbane Roar

Marko Majkic (SC 22) Bosnian

Adam Sarota (AMLC 27) from RKC

Duje Lukacic (AMLSC 19) Croatian

Mustafa Amini (MC AMC 23) from Dortmund, was on trail at Central Coast

All in all, 17 players left and 11 players joined, some of which may not be able to play this season because we have too many foreigners in the squad (A-League rules state only 5 are allowed to be registered). The method in the madness being that some of these can be sold on at good prices. It was a busy summer!

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A-League Transfers

In a way I was pleased to see that both Nichols and Vukovic had joined A-League clubs, because it meant that the league had not lost quality. With Nichols going to Melbourne Victory, he could prove to be the catalyst to improving their final table positions. Having said that, no sooner had they signed him, they had sold one of their star players to FC Twente for £1.8 million (nice bit of work there). They also managed to sell a striker for £625k to Falkirk. At the start of the summer I was thinking they would be the team to seriously challenge the top 2, and I said as much in my press conference at the start of the season, but with the benefit of hindsight, Im not convinced.

None of the other clubs had really made much of an effort over the Summer. Sydney had sold 2 players for £1.8m, similar sort of territory to us - paid nothing and had huge gains. Brisbane Roar spent £650k on players, with £375k on an unknown (and according to my scouts not very highly rated) 18 year old.

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This could be the start of something good…

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Changing our pre-season strategy slightly, I only organised 8 friendlies at the start of the season, this was primarily due to the fact that I thought I would be running around chasing after players, and because I was aware that we had the Champions League coming up, of which I knew very little - it was our first venture into it, and so far we’d done well.

In September we played our first Quarter final. This was at home versus Al-Ain. 16,500 people turned up to watch us win 5-2, with 2 goals from our new striker Majkic. The other scorers were familiar players such as James Brown and Scott Neville. This was a very nice result and pretty much set us up for a semi-final. However, in the away round 2 weeks later we lost 2-1. Essentially, we did what we needed to do, which was qualify for the next stage. Disappointingly, only 7k people attended this match. Maybe the Champions League isn't as good as I expected. The prize money isnt great that’s for sure.

Two weeks later we played the first our semi final legs versus Chinese side Guangzhou. It was a vital 2-1 away win. To say I was pleased was an understatement, I was seriously concerned about this match but the players did well. We were helped by one of their players getting sent off in the 32nd minute, but you can still lose these types of games (just ask Barcelona). The match was played in front of 56,000 supporters as well, I was gutted that we don’t share gate receipts after that game...

Our A-League season started with a 1-1 draw versus Adelaide away. We dominated the match but our new keeper conceded a bizarre late goal pretty much from the touchline in no danger (from what I could see, but it is hard to see flying pigs on FM sometimes).

Our semi final home leg was next up. 17,000 people turned up to watch a tight affair in which we won with a 82nd minute Jamie Maclaren penalty. Why oh why cant we start playing these matches at Subiacco? I’m sure we’d be able to get more supporters going to see us. We were in the final at our first attempt. Nice going!!

After this we had a run of 4 straight wins, where we conceded just 1 goal. Unfortunately, these things must come to an end and ofcourse it had to be at the hands of our arch nemesis Central Coast. A 1-0 away loss did not go down well. It was an 82nd minute counter attacking goal. We hadn’t completely dominated the match, but in my eyes we should have won. We immediately bounced back against Brisbane Roar winning 2-0 away. However, in my desperation to win this game and keep in check with the top 3 I played my best players, despite knowing full well I had a final to play in 3 days. It was a risk…

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Asian Champions League Final

12th November 2016 - To be remembered by many in Perth as the day we hit the big time. For some reason (I’m not sure what) this game was played Al-Hilal’s (KSA) home ground. Surely this provides them with a big advantage?? The match started off with a goal from the home team within 7 minutes - thinking I was about to watch a white wash I was very concerned, but then up popped ever reliable Scott Neville to head in a goal a couple of minutes later (I’m sure this reminds me of another champions league final somewhere…)

Unfortunately it was not meant to be, and 10 minutes later they scored again. We just did not have the fitness and my gamble at Brisbane 3 days earlier backfired on me. The question is, will it be worth it at the end of the season?? In the end we received about £300k worth of prize money for appearing in the final, and our players had got a taste for what a final is like. More of the same please…

A week after the champions league final we lost at home to top side Newcastle Jets 1-0. Naturally Vukovic played a good game and kept a clean sheet. 2 loses in 2 games isn’t acceptable. Luckily we have bounced back with 4 wins on the trot (again only 1 goal conceded) which means that we head into mid December in 2nd place, 4 points adrift from Newcastle Jets.

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So we’re coming to the business end of the season, and its fair to say that our most important game so far is coming up...

the first fixtures lists of the season:

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2017 pre newcastle game league table

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Newcastle Jets have been the form team this season and now we need to beat them so that we can try to cement our top spot in time for the end of the season..

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2017 end of season review

A-League

The Newcastle result was fantastic and we kept the momentum going with wins versus Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar. However, with the champions league around the corner I decided to use a strategy taht I used at the end of last year and play some of the reserves. Although it worked last year, I think its fair to say that we’d blitzed the league and had momentum. This year, Newcastle Jets have kept with us or been above us for most of the season. We ended up losing 3-2 to Adelaide (we were 3-0 down) and drawing 1-1 with Gold Coast, which meant that we were not able to bridge a gap with the Jets. In fairness, once we’d lost to Adelaide I decided that we needed to hit every single game with everything that we had which meant that players did not get as much of a rest as I would have liked. That meant we went on a 4 game unbeaten streak, ending with a 4-0 defeat at home to the Jets. Luckily we won the next game away to Wellington 5-1 otherwise we may have ended up being joint first with Newcastle at the end of the year. I guess we were relieved to end the season.

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A-League Finals Series

Finishing first is key in the A-League; however in our first major semi final we lost 3-0 away to Newcastle. Our results this year versus the Jets have been seriously inconsistent. They have been the big improvers this year in my mind and Vukovic has really helped with that. The damage had been done, so by the time we were back in Perth a 2-1 victory at home was never going to be good enough.

Fortunately we ended up winning 4-1 against the Victory at their home in the Prelim final. Good to see the team turned up. It set us up for a Grand Final in Newcastle.

This was a game that no one could predict. I think many would have favoured a home victory but it really did depend on with PErth Glory team turned up. Luckily for us, the angry & skillful Glory turned up. A nervy start was helped by a penalty score in the 3rd minute 26 year old Jack Hingert. The game was very close with chances to either side, until Lukacic scored in the 85th minute to give us a cushion and then put the game beyond any doubt in the 93rd minute. Game, set and match to the Glory. We won the grand final and A-League two years in a row.

Asian Champions League

Oh dear, oh dear - woefully inconsistent and no where near good enough compared to last year. We played 6 matches, losing 2 and drawing 1. We finished bottom of our group. With the last game to go all 4 teams were drawing on 7 points but we were top with a goal difference of +3. Our 4-1 defeat at home meant that we would not be playing any further part. I was furious with the team and they knew about it! Losing 4 key players has clearly hit us hard here.

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Squad

Ben Kennedy came in as our new goalkeeper, and didn't do a bad job at all. Granted, he is not as good as Vukovic (who had a pretty good season with the Jets), but he still managed to keep our goals conceded stats low.

Marko Majkic - what can i say?? 24 goals in 31 games... what a signing. This more than made up for the loss of Mitch Nochols and Shane Smeltz. Surprisingly, and some what annoyingly his value is only showing as £220k, and no one has expressed interest in him. His finishing is only rated at 9, its his acceleration of 17 that has really helped him out in the league this year - he has been able to leave defenders standing.

No one really came through from the youth team this year. The Youth squad actually ended up finishing 8th, which is an awful final position. I’d really like to improve on this, but we can’t afford to upgrade our facilities so we’re

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Finances

We were close to breaking even, certainly closer than we ever have been since I started - however this was because we sold players for £1.8m and reached the Asian Champions League Final. I don’t see us being able to achieve this again during the summer - the players just aren’t as good. It is possible that we will see more cost cutting again as we try to hit a profit, or at least get into a position where I can upgrade facilities.

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The league overall

Mitch Nichols was not able to replicate his stats with us at Melbourne Victory. Having said that, their league position improved from 6th to 4th and I think he helped with that. Despite having Philippe Senderos on £18k per week, Sydney FC still couldn't make finals football - missing by 2 points. Wellington and Heart were both scrapping for the wooden spoon again, however Wellington got that easily (16 points to them versus 28 to Heart).

Our average attendance increased to 14,712, which is the first time we have smashed the 14k mark, which is a positive sign. Overall the league has

Conclusion

Under the circumstances it was an ok season - I am proud that we got to the Asian Champions League Final in our first try, and that we made a pretty good effort of winning it. However, we were a much worse off team this year, and to me I am disappointed that we only just won the league and the grand final. A win is a win, and it looks good in the history books, but I just wonder if I am trying to re-build something that will never be as good as I want it to be. Despite signing a 1 year contract extension I am considering where I want to be next.

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