The astronomical costs associated with running Perth Glory and their Youth League team claimed another casualty on Wednesday, with co-owner Brett McKeon walking away from the A-League club.
McKeon combined with Tony Sage and John Spence to buy the Glory’s A-League licence from Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2007.
But it proved to be a losing venture for the trio.
Spence walked away from the club last year and McKeon’s decision to count his losses and join Spence in the wilderness has left Sage in sole control of a club that has failed to fire both on and off the field since the A-League’s inception.
Sage and McKeon both claimed the higher-than-expected running costs of Perth’s Youth League team had been a cause of major frustration.
Sage, visibly shocked by McKeon’s sudden departure, claimed the FFA said it would cost the club around $100,000 a season to run the team, but Perth’s costs have risen to closer to $500,000.
“I think that a lot of it (the blowout) had to do with the extra cost of coaches, training facilities, the extra accommodation, which has fallen back onto the club again,” Sage said.
“So what was supposed to cost us maybe a $100,000 extra maybe cost us half a million dollars extra.
“We haven’t done the final numbers yet but it’s blown out by three or four times which I think was the last straw for Brett when he saw the numbers.”
McKeon said the cost of running a Youth League team shouldn’t have fallen on the club’s owners.
FFA pays for all airfares in the A-League, Youth League and W-League.
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley described the Youth League as an “investment for the future”.
“It’s where future Hyundai A-League players will come from and it’s where our future national team players, including Socceroos, will come from,” Buckley said in a statement.
“Most clubs see this as an investment rather than a cost and which could also have financial benefits down the track.
“It’s had a very highly successful first year and will form the basis for the future growth and development of the game. We certainly expect Perth Glory to continue to be a part of what we’re all striving for.”
Despite the Glory bleeding money, Sage said he was committed to the club.
“I believe we are on the cusp of achieving great things at the club and I’ll be here for the long haul,” Sage said.
McKeon will support the club as a corporate partner and retains a seat on a restructured club advisory board.