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Ron Smith axed as Perth Glory coach

Roar Rookie
4th November, 2007
1

Perth Glory have become the second A-League club in a fortnight to sack their coach, with Ron Smith following Sydney’s Branko Culina through the trapdoor after a dreadful first half of the season.

Following 18 games and almost a year without a win, Glory’s owners finally lost patience with Smith on Saturday, asking him to leave the club with immediate effect before packing him off to Bali for a holiday.

Placing their faith in assistant Dave Mitchell to turn the club’s fortunes around, the Glasgow-born former Socceroo admitted to several clashes with Smith over the way the team was being coached.

And promising a harder edge, Mitchell will also have the use of an alliance with Premier League club Manchester City announced today – which could lead to loans of players Sven Goran Eriksson cannot find room for.

Announcing Smith’s departure, co-owner John Spence said although the split was amicable, it was also inevitable.

“We asked Ron to step down. We have reviewed our situation so far this year and it is not acceptable,” Spence said.

And Mitchell, whose nomadic footballing career has taken him to England with Chelsea, Scotland with Rangers and Holland with Feyenoord, said he believed some of the Glory players had been cruising this year.

“I have this (job) with Ron Smith’s blessing – we will always be friends. But Ron is from one part of the world, and I am from the another and we did clash in certain instances,” Mitchell said.

“We do have different philosophies. My professional background is very much hard nosed … and I think that is a little bit what we missed.

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“I put the players on notice this morning that there are careers at stake as well as my own.

“Desire and commitment has been lacking in some aspects, and certainly that is something I want to bring.”

After leaving the FFA technical director role to coach Glory in 2006, Smith enjoyed some early success – but since beating New Zealand Knights last November has failed to taste victory in a single game.

Hindered by serious injuries to Hayden Foxe and David Tarka, and the suspension of Stan Lazaridis, Smith was also let down by players he brought in – most notably striker Mate Dragicevic who was dumped by the club yesterday without a goal to his name.

Mitchell said he would immediately start looking for a replacement – with Spence saying they could come from Manchester.

Following a deal struck with the club now owned by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Perth will be part of a worldwide network of clubs allied to City, which will include a training academy in Perth.

“I have been on the phone to the chief executives in the last few weeks, and we have been discussing exactly that,” Spence said.

“Certainly one of the motivations for myself as an owner is that we have access to quality players up there.

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“Clearly we are looking at specific players … who are good at scoring goals.”

And Spence also left open the possibility of Smith returning to the club in another role.

“There are a number of things we are talking to Ron about. But I am a great believer in that you can have only one captain of a ship, so it certainly won’t be in any shape or form crossing over with Mitch’s job,” Spence said.

© 2007 AAP

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