104 days. That’s how long it’s been since Perth Glory announced that their manager, Ruben Zadkovich, would be leaving the club.
The statement cited that his resignation would leave him the opportunity to pursue other options. This came as a shock to most, although issues that had arisen throughout his tenure quickly came to the forefront as the reasons behind him leaving the club.
Despite enjoying success at home, Perth’s away form was abysmal, winning just one game in the 2022-23 season. The tactics appeared to be ‘rely on the home crowd,’ which, to his credit, worked with Glory only losing once at home, a cracker that ended 4-2 to Melbourne City.
Sixty-two days later, Alen Stajcic was unveiled as the new Glory boss, to much commendation from the fans. The appointment had come at a time of uncertainty for the club, with no owners and barely a starting 11.
Numerous players were jumping ship as their contracts were up in the air. Notable departures included star winger Ryan Williams, exciting youngster Keegan Jelacic, sold for a fee, and the ever-present Jack Clisby, with numerous other useful squad players leaving.
Since joining the club, Stajcic has taken the reins of the head of recruitment role from club legend Andy Keogh and has made five signings, with a few more potentially still to come.
Aleksandar Susnjar is an astute signing and will provide competition to the ageing duo of Mark Beevers and Darryl Lachman, both previous players of the year for the Western Australian outfit.
Bruce Kamau, another Australian with very good experience in the A-League is a dynamic, versatile attacking player who will no doubt be crucial to Perth’s top-six hopes.
Riley Warland returns after a good season in the NPL with Gwelup Croatia for his third stint at the club. Another versatile and talented player, Warland can play at centre-back and left-back, making him highly useful for Stajcic.
On the day after deadline day, Glory announced the loan signings of 34-year-old veteran and Socceroo Oliver Bozanic, as well as winger Jarrod Carluccio to bolster the squad.
Bozanic had some of his best years under Stajcic and whilst he is on the wrong side of 30, he and Perth’s current captain Mustafa Amini could form a solid partnership in midfield.
All the signings that Perth have made so far are one-year deals or loans, most likely due to the ownership situation, and contract extensions for some of these signings could be triggered as soon as the saga is over.
I have attended all three of Perth Glory’s friendlies so far this season and have each time been left satisfied with the level of quality displayed by the players. Stajcic has clearly implemented his style of play already and thirteen goals in three games, whilst admittedly being against tired NPL sides, is nothing to be sniffed at.
After so many false dawns and poor seasons, the sleeping giant of the A-League looks like it may be starting to wake.
Whilst we won’t know until the season starts, it looks like the Glory Days could well be back at HBF Park.