It is indeed a strange world and the Perth Glory players stood down by the club without pay are highlighting just how strange it actually is.
Western Sydney might not have done enough to save under-fire coach Markus Babbel in their 1-0 A-League loss to Perth at Bankwest Stadium.
The Wanderers slumped to their eighth defeat of the season on Sunday night as pressure mounted on the German, who has lost 23 of his 41 games in charge of the club.
Late in the game, media outlets were reporting Babbel would be shown the door within 24 hours, with the decision made before Sunday’s loss.
The Wanderers refused to comment on the reports.
In the post-match press conference he denied feeling as though his job was on the line from within the club and confirmed he believes he’s the man to take the Wanderers forward.
“Of course,” he said.
“So now my job is to bring their heads up again, work hard in these 14 days now, because next week we don’t have a game, and we have to work on our fitness level, we have to work on our structure, and start again.
“There are still games to go, it’s still possible. I was always a fighter.”
If it was Babbel’s final game in charge of the Wanderers, it was a dour one in front of 10,994 fans.
The premiers scored early through Bruno Fornaroli in the 7th minute, going one-on-one with keeper Daniel Lopar, but the ball touched the stopper on its way into the net.
Midway through the first half, the Wanderers had their first real chance with some slick passing through the middle for Nicolai Müller to take his shot, but it was saved spectacularly by keeper Liam Reddy.
The Glory appeared to respond quickly as Joel Chianese sank the ball into the net in the clear, but he was ruled offside.
He was again denied by VAR in the 77th minute for the same offence.
It took until late in the second half for the Wanderers to take another chance to equalise, but the VAR correctly intervened, picking up a handball from Kwame Yeobah to the ire of home fans.
What was a moment of elation, and probably relief for coach Babbel, quickly turned sour as a handful of fans protested by throwing bottles onto the pitch.
“It’s a goal. Very simple. It’s not a handball, it’s a chest. But for us it’s normal. Sad to say, but it’s normal,” Babbel said of the decision.
Despite the majority of possession, the Wanderers again failed to convert any of their chances while recruit, Irish striker Simon Cox, watched from the sidelines.
The Wanderers have a bye leading into their match on February 2 against Central Coast, while Perth will play Melbourne City at AAMI Park in round 16.
Sunday’s win was the sixth in a row for the Glory, a new club record.