Glory fans the victims of identity struggle

Ten rounds into the season and a coach has been sacked and two more are under real pressure.

Ten rounds into the season and a coach has been sacked and two more are under real pressure.

I want to declare early that I played with Alistair Edwards in the old NSL and consider him to be a friend. My thoughts on what has happened in Perth are not because of that friendship, but the circumstances behind his dismissal, and the constant reaction to results of “sack the manager'.

Nowadays, sackings are commonplace in football and it comes with the territory. As the saying goes: "Every day in the job is one closer to being sacked”. Around the football world, managers are usually sacked because clubs are desperately looking for a way to avoid the dreaded relegation, or in the case of Andres Villas-Boas, they had a large war chest to spend and results had become so poor they bordered on humiliating.

To a certain extent I can understand these events. But surely you only sack a manger if you have someone better in mind to replace him.

A-League clubs are still in many ways in their infancy and searching for an identity supporters can relate too. There is no doubt Brisbane Roar have an identity formed under Ange Postecoglou that has now become very important to the club and is the determining factor in any football decisions. Sydney FC started with an identity of being the 'glamour club', but despite that success for some reason decided to try and get away from that image. In the ensuing seasons they had, to my eye, done little more than tread water until they returned to that original methodology by recruiting Alessandro del Piero. Look at their crowds now.

Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney Wanderers and perhaps Central Coast Mariners are the only other clubs that have a form of identity. Is it then a real surprise that the clubs who have managers under real pressure are those that still struggle to stand for something?

When a board appoints a new manager what do they look for? Surely the first thing should be what style of play they are looking to implement and how they plan on achieving it. A club should have enough knowledge of their region and supporter base to know what style of football they want to watch. There is no right or wrong style, in my view. Stoke City have one of the most passionate and vocal crowds in the EPL yet for years under Tony Pulis they played a style of football that so called “purists” dismissed. I would argue that for a club of their size and resources they have been enormously successful and not one club in England liked playing against them.

Before anyone jumps up and down, I-m not calling for clubs to play that style of football. But each and every A-League club and its supporters should stand for something. Alistair Edwards was appointed after the sacking of Ian Ferguson who was often criticised in the West for ignoring young local talent and signing ageing players from other clubs or lower foreign leagues.

When Edwards took the role, he openly declared that he would give the young talent a chance and create a pathway for young Western Australian players.

This right here was a chance for the Glory to stand for something - to have an identity that the local people could embrace instead of being just another club. Perth were a powerhouse at the end of the NSL era and those teams were full of quality local players who the supporters knew and supported in record numbers. The same can-t be said for their tenure in the A-League - apart from a memorable run to the 2012 grand final they have been average at best. And now Perth will have their seventh manager in nine seasons!

From the outside looking in, the most alarming part of this whole fiasco has been the ability of a group of players to convince a board that a decision they made just 10 games ago was wrong and they should remove the coach. The first question is why did they want the change? Did they want the change for the good of the club or the good of themselves?

Professional footballers and indeed professional sportsmen are a selfish bunch. They have a cherished lifestyle and will do anything to protect that. Is that what has happened in this case? For the sake of Perth Glory and its future, you'd hope not.

Does anyone really think Edwards would be so stupid as to sign his sons if he didn-t think they were good enough? I watched the Glory first hand in Brisbane a few weeks ago, and if the other players had put in anything remotely matching the efforts of Ryan Edwards they would have been a lot better off.

That was a young side who in difficult circumstances competed to the best of their ability and I can guarantee learnt a great deal from the experience.

That was a game when they could have used the services and experience of club captain Jacob Burns but he was unavailable after being suspended for a mindless stamp on John Hutchinson. He let his teammates down with his actions, and then questions why, after completing his suspension, he was unused off the bench.

Now player power has won and Perth have taken the easy option and sacked their coach. The real losers, in the long run, will be the Glory fans. Again.