This Saturday will see Perth Glory celebrate 15 years as a club when they take on Sydney FC at nib Stadium. In order to discover the real story behind some of the most legendary episodes in Glory’s illustrious history, getting four of the Perth Glory's favourite sons together in one room is a pretty good way to start.
This Saturday will see Perth Glory celebrate 15 years as a club when they take on Sydney FC at nib Stadium. In order to discover the real story behind some of the most legendary episodes in Glory-s illustrious history, getting four of the Perth Glory's favourite sons together in one room is a pretty good way to start.
So that-s exactly what we did with Mich D-Avray, Scott Miller, Alan MacKenzie and Gary Marocchi.
And where better to start than the club-s first ever competitive game, October 13 1996 versus UTS Olympic.
“Most of the guys came out of the State League and we didn-t know what to expect”, MacKenzie recalled.
“In the changing rooms on that first day every ten or fifteen minutes the noise from the crowd got louder and louder and we were thinking this obviously means a lot to the people in Perth. As I ran out and saw the size of the crowd”, he continued, “I thought this is becoming a really big thing”.
9,639 fans eventually made their way into the ground that day and although Perth Glory ultimately went down to a 4-1, it was their free-flowing football that captured everyone-s imagination.
“I thought if you want to get people to come and watch the team play, you-ve got to play an exciting brand of football,” remembered Marocchi.
“We always focused on playing attacking football”.
The gung-ho tactical approach was a box-office hit which led to some unforgettable games and goals like Scott Miller-s sensational strike against Melbourne Knights in December 1996.
“I tried to drill it, but it ended up lobbing the goalkeeper, Miller said.
“I didn-t score that many, unlike Bobby Despotovski, but if I-m out with Bobby, people still mention it even now and it irritates him, which is good!”.
While Marocchi did a superb job in establishing Perth Glory, it wasn-t until D-Avray arrived at the club that that potential was translated into silverware.
“In 2003 we went from strength to strength”, he recalled, “and coming into that Grand Final there was no way we were going to lose. A lot of people were saying that Glory couldn-t handle the big occasion, so it was good not only to win, but to get the monkey off our backs”.
Unfortunately the A-League years have of course not yet been as kind to the men in purple, but the quality of this year-s squad has given rise to a genuine feeling that those glory days could be about to return.
In fifteen years- time, will we be asking Ian Ferguson to reflect upon a Grand Final triumph, prompting Shane Smeltz to talk us through a match-winning thunderbolt? We just might.
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