Description: Office Address: 310 Pier Street, Perth
Postal Address: PO Box 8199, Perth BC, Perth WA 6849
Telephone: +61 (0)8 9492 6000
Fax: +61 (0)8 9492 6060
Since being established in 1995 the Glory has made an impact on and off the field. The professionalism of the club has been exceptional and, with the addition of the clubs most valuable asset, its passionate supporters, there is no doubt the Glory will continue to thrive in the Hyundai A-League.
With a new chapter beginning for the West Australian club, a golden eight-year era in the NSL has come to an end, with many highs and lows remaining in the memories of the club and its supporters.
The NSL journey began on October 13, 1996 and culminated in a second consecutive championship victory on April 4, 2004.
The debut of national soccer in Western Australia began in the opening round of the 1996/97 season as Perth Glory hosted Sydney Olympic in front of a crowd of close to 10,000 people.
Glory’s recruitment process had been kept fairly local with the signing of former Adelaide City midfielder Gary Marocchi as coach. In his first season at the club, Marocchi secured a group of local players who were largely unknown but highly spirited. The base of the team was formed around the names Naven, Miller, MacKenzie, Despotovski and Kalogeracos who all contributed in earning Glory some memorable wins.
Crowd attendances were outstanding for the new team, varying between 7,000 and 14,000 each home game. Unfortunately, the Perth side fell just short of a finals berth but it had been an impressive first season none the less.
The following year recruitment became a key for the Glory as they secured the services of three experienced players in Socceroo Ernie Tapai, New Zealand international defender Danny Hay and Nigerian striker Samson Siasia.
After a solid first half of the season where the Glory sat in the top four, it was a disappointing run of home matches, which saw them drop down the ladder and finish in eighth position. Crowds continued to grow in the second season though, with attendances regularly hitting the 16,000 mark.
The departure of Marocchi paved the way for Glory to recruit a new overseas coaching partnership for the 1998/99 season, securing the services of East German coach, Bernd Stange, and South African, Mich d’Avray, as his assistant. A change in coaching staff resulted in a huge change of on field success and, with new recruits in the playing squad, Glory piled on outstanding results to finish in third position.
An elimination final awaited the Perth side as 25,000 West Australians packed the WACA ground to watch their beloved side come from a goal down to defeat Adelaide City 2-1, Bobby Despotovski nodding in a header with only minutes remaining.
More crowd records were broken a week later as the same venue lifted the capacity to 28,000 and an own goal was enough to carry the Glory into a preliminary final. Many supporters headed east for the battle with Sydney United but the noise was not enough and Glory went down 2-1.
The side returned stronger again in season 1999/2000 and after picking up young blood in Ivan Ergic and Kasey Wehrman, the Glory embarked on another successful season, finishing as minor premiers.
Confidence was high in the Glory camp ahead of their major semi final battle against Wollongong Wolves at Subiaco Oval. A 1-0 first leg away loss was improved on a week later as the Glory snatched a grand final berth. Youngster Ivan Ergic showed his sublime skill by weaving his way through the defence and finishing past the goalkeeper to send the 42,000 fans on hand into a state of ecstasy at the 2-0 win.
The Glory and Wolves met at the same venue again two weeks later for the championship decider, which would go down as the most memorable grand final in NSL history. Off the field it was a great day for any Glory fan as the promotion and build-up to the match was similar to European football.
On the field though it was a day the Glory would rather forget. At half time, the crowd were in a delirious mood as the home team held a 3-0 lead but little did the 43,000 know how much the second half would change the outcome of the game.
The Wolves put on a fairytale comeback in the second half, scoring three times to send the crowd into shock and amazement. The hard play took its toll and after 30 minutes of golden goal extra time, no score was added and a dreaded penalty shootout decided the final.
Five players from each side converted before two Wolves players were denied but Glory’s Edgar and Edwards also had their shots saved. Youngster James Afkos was the final Glory player to have his tame shot saved, ultimately deciding Glory’s fate as the Wollongong players and officials ran from the sidelines to embrace. Glory’s fans and players left the ground devastated.
Glory aimed to go one step further a season later and helped their cause by securing the experience of striker Damian Mori, midfielder Brad Maloney and defender Shane Pryce. Despotovski combined with Mori as they ripped opposition teams apart but the Glory stumbled at a crucial stage.
In front of 30,000 at Subiaco Oval, the Melbourne Knights stunned the Perth side eliminating them from the finals series, bringing a disappointing finish to a terrific season.
It was the end of an era for Bernd Stange, who, after three successful years at the club did not have his contract renewed. Mich d’Avray, took over the job and a man with impressive credentials, Alan Vest, joined him.
Their debut season together was one to remember as the Glory broke nearly every record in the book with incredible winning streaks. New additions, Horsley and Hassell proved valuable but it was the consistent performances of Mori, Despotovski, Edgar and Miller that advanced the Perth side to their second NSL grand final.
A crowd of 42,000 packed Subiaco Oval for Glory’s second attempt at championship success but fans were left shattered after half time when Ante Milicic fired a bullet into the top corner of the net to give the Sydney Olympic a stunning upset victory. Supporters left with hearts broken as the Glory had again failed at the last hurdle and were now given the tag of chokers by their Eastern States rivals.
In season 2002/03 it was a case of third time lucky and again international experience was brought in, with the signing of creative German midfielder, Andre Gumprecht. Another sensational season saw the Glory narrowly miss out on a minor premiership. Socceroo midfielder, Simon Colosimo, headed west as the Glory showed their character in the finals series, eventually winning the right to host their third grand final.
A reduced attendance of 38,000 turned out at the venue for the club’s third attempt at success and, after a tight opening half, stalwart Jamie Harnwell rose to head home a corner and put the Glory into the lead.
With only minute’s remaining, Damian Mori sent the fans into jubilation when he tucked home the second to make it 2-0. The whistle was blown and the Glory had captured their first ever championship to the delight of the players. A wave of purple and orange celebrated in the stands on a very special day for the club.
The winning team was divided though, as players pursued contracts with Parramatta Power and overseas clubs.
In the final year of the NSL, the Glory were aiming for back-to-back championships and boosted their chances by signing Socceroo defender Shaun Murphy, veteran Matthew Bingley and an exciting trio of players from Olympic Sharks in Pondeljak, Srhoj and North.
It was a difficult start for the club with the re-development of Perth Oval causing the Glory to play majority of its early games away from home. After an arduous travel schedule, the side sat in the top two before an impressive run of home wins sealed a third minor premiership.
An attack-minded Parramatta Power sent the last grand final to Sydney as they outclassed the Glory in the semi finals. But Glory bounced back a week later, trouncing Adelaide United 5-0, setting up a rematch with the Power.
A disappointing 9,000 filled the stands for the final NSL championship decider and, after two tight halves of wet weather football, the decider went to golden goal extra time. After Damian Mori missed two splendid opportunities, it was left to young striker Nick Mrdja to deliver the telling blow and keep the last NSL trophy in Western Australia.
After the pain of two home grand final defeats, the Glory finished their National Soccer League career in style capturing two championships but most importantly raised the level and set the bar for the upcoming Hyundai A-League.
: ME Bank Stadium
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