When Richard Garcia was appointed as Perth Glory’s coach for this season, there were mixed reactions.
Many saw a former Glory player ready to give back to the club he played for, the club he knew well. His connection with the club gave optimistic fans excitement for the upcoming season.
Others saw an inexperienced manager with no track record – Glory was his first managerial stint – brought in to replace Tony Popovic, an experienced manager who had won us the Perth’s Premiers Plate in ’18-19, when we lost the grand final on penalties.
I was among us those who were reluctant about Garcia’s appointment. He was out of his depth and I had a gut feeling that he would not do well at all.
Despite this, Glory started the A-League season in fine form. In our first match, we smashed Adelaide United 5-3 at home, which was followed by an unfortunate but positive 5-4 loss away to Western United. Perth Glory then went on to win three of the next four, and we were named as title contenders.
Despite defensive woes, having not kept a clean sheet at that point, our attacking lethality meant we could outscore teams, giving us hopes of winning the elusive A-League trophy for the first time.
This was surprising, given our use of the outdated 4-4-2 formation. I had a gut feeling this formation would let Perth down, that our good form would not last.
And then bad results started coming thick and fast. A run of one or two bad games, sometimes even three or four can be dismissed as unlucky or just a bad run of form.
However we are long past this point: now 18 matches into the season, we sit tenth, 11 points off finals. Our first clean sheet came just two matches ago against Macarthur and we have one win in the last 12.
While some blame players for this disaster, who have not performed particularly well this season, true blame always rests on the manager.
Despite poor performances that have demonstrated the fundamental weakness of 4-4-2, Garcia has been resistant to change formations, playing it many times in important matches.
To quote Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.
Anybody who knew anything about football would as manager accept that the formation is not working and switch up.
Anyone in charge of Perth would play 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, or one out of a hundred other formations.
Most managers would accept blame for the results and make tactical changes, experimenting with different formations.
Instead, he chooses to blame, among other things, the schedule of fixtures and “individual errors of players”.
While mistakes have been made by players, a manager who is finishing tenth with a squad boasting the likes of Jason Geria, Darryl Lachman, Sebastian Langkamp, Kosuke Ota, Neil Kilkenny, Bruno Fornaroli, Diego Castro, D’agostino, Carlo Armiento, Chris Ikonomidis, Joel Chianese and Andy Keogh is not up to scratch.
This squad should be contesting the A-League this season. Garcia has been told by the club that this season is a build-up for the next one, but let’s be honest: we know he’ll fail.
Time for Tony Sage and Tony Pignata to sack Garcia and rid our club of mediocrity.