Lowe can lead Glory back to former highs
Kenny Lowe is the right man for the job of taking Perth Glory back to the top of Australian football.
Kenny Lowe is the right man for the job of taking Perth Glory back to the top of Australian football. He is enthusiastic, educated, a good motivator and quirky enough to keep the players on their toes. Kenny-s time spent working with Barry Fry - a larger than life character whose managerial career included spells at Birmingham City, Southend and Peterborough - seems to have rubbed off. And Glory-s four results since he has taken the helm show that the players are willing to play for him.
As important as the coaching appointment is to the success of any club, there is a much bigger challenge for Glory that runs deep into its heart. This is a club which has won trophies, attracted big name players and drawn big crowds but has since fallen a long way from this lofty position. In the National Soccer League days, it was a club with a winning culture and had the players and set-up to dominate for years. But that culture has been lost and although there remains a “purple army” of support, the club is in need of a soul. It needs a firm philosophy, reflecting what it stands for, and must develop a style - on and off the pitch - that it should stick to in good times and bad. This should be reflected in everything the club does and every appointment it makes on and off the field.
Ultimately, that comes down to the owner, Tony Sage, and the decisions made at board level. The culture of any organisation starts in the boardroom. There have been a lot of changes made since the start of Tony-s ownership, and while many may have been merited, this constant disruption has worked against the development of a proper football culture at the club. Aside from the turnover of coaches, there have also been quite a few chief executives spin through the club for reasons I-m not privy to.
If you look at the leaders in world football, such as Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool, they have long-established cultures - or ways of doing things, if you like - so that no matter who is in charge the system of doing business and playing the game remains almost unchanged. When a particular coach leaves, those in the boardroom dictate the direction of the club, not the new manager, who is employed to fit into an overarching philosophy. Strong characters such as Jose Mourinho, Pep Gaurdiola, and Sir Alex Ferguson can enhance the philosophy set by a club. Let-s not forget the standards set by Sir Matt Busby-s Babes long before Ferguson was a feature at Old Trafford, and that Real Madrid-s winning culture was very much in evidence way back in 1960 when Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas lifted the European Cup with a 7-3 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Players are powerful and important assets but they should not dictate culture to a club, they should buy into it and enhance it. In the same way, managers should be selected to improve the brand of football and not to rebuild with every new appointment.
Tony is in position to build a strong club with a strong sense of identity. His heart is in the club, and also his wallet, given the money he has pumped in, but he needs to set out a vision, which everyone can buy into. It-s not just about the end goal it-s about establishing a clear path to a better future. When Tony brought in former coach Alistair Edwards the club looked to be heading in the right direction with a focus on youth development. The public fall-out between Edwards and captain Jacob Burns, which ultimately cost the coach his job, has been well documented. While the club could have done without the negative publicity, Kenny-s interim appointment is a good indication the club wants to continue with a policy of youth development - at least for now.
However, it is a little concerning that there is already talk of the possibility of filling the “permanent” position with a foreign coach, which would send the club into another “rebuilding” phase. Under Kenny, and following on from Alistair-s short spell, Glory are heading in the right direction. By continuing to build around an already strong and experienced spine with the development of young players, Glory will be giving the Perth football community what it wants. The WA public loves to see young, local players coming through the ranks and achieving on the national stage. Fans will part with their cash to watch the kids they have seen grow up because they feel as if they are sharing the journey. This is a culture that can be nurtured at Glory but it requires Tony, his chief executive Jason Brewer, and everyone associated with the club to commit to it.
If Tony-s dedication to the club is to be rewarded with A-League silverware, he must back the current crop of coaches, including Kenny, and not turn off the freeway to take a short cut. Football plans need time to mature. They are not a quick fix. Everyone at the club must be committed to the plan. They must behave professionally at all levels, both on and off the pitch, and recognise that Rome wasn-t built in a day. The chairman must give his manager years - not minutes - to restore the club to its former glory.