Perth Glory fans could do with something to smile about to start the new year. Jonathan Cook reflects on 15 memorable moments from the club’s 15-year history.
WOLVES BITE BACK
Wollongong Wolves' astonishing grand final fight-back will never be forgotten by the 43,000 fans at then Subiaco Oval in June 2000. Glory were 3-0 up at half-time, but Wollongong scored three second-half goals to send the match into extra time and then penalties. Wollongong completed a dramatic afternoon by holding their nerve in the shoot-out.
THE WAIT IS OVER
After the two gut-wrenching grand final defeats of 2000 and 2002, Glory finally got it right under the stewardship of Mich d'Avray and his assistant Alan Vest in the 2003 final at home against Sydney Olympic. Jamie Harnwell put Glory ahead in the first half but nerves were jangling until Damian Mori made sure of the win with a goal in the closing moments.
It was the final act of the National Soccer League and proved to be the last meaningful contribution Glory have made to Australian soccer. Substitute Nik Mrdja made light of the conditions against Parramatta Power to smash home an extra-time winner, sealing Glory's second successive grand final in 2004.
ERGIC JUST MAGIC
Then 19-year-old Ivan Ergic set his value soaring when he almost single-handedly inspired Glory to a home semifinal win over Wollongong in 2000. Glory had been trailing 1-0 on aggregate when Ergic was hauled down in the box and Rob Trajkovski scored from the spot to send the game into extra time. Just three minutes into the golden goal period, Ergic set off on another thrilling run, played a one-two with Aurelio and banged home the winner.
After a goalless draw in the 1999 first-leg semifinal against Adelaide City, Glory went behind in the second leg and suddenly needed two goals at the WACA Ground to stay alive in the competition. Harnwell produced a trademark header to equalise and just a few minutes from the end Bobby Despotovski scored the winner. Glory coach Bernd Stange, who had more charisma than a chart-topping boy band, sent his profile skyrocketing when he planted a kiss on an unsuspecting female police officer during the celebrations.
FIGHT NIGHT I
Despotovski's three-fingered gesture did not go down well at Knights Stadium during a 2001 match against Melbourne Knights and a group of thugs sought retribution after the match. Despotovski and coach Stange were among a group of Glory players and officials attacked while still inside the ground as they tried to get to their bus. Despotovski was fined $2000 and was hit with a six-match suspended sentence.
OVER AND OUT
The appointment of former Liverpool midfielder Steve McMahon to lead the team into the A-League era had been well received and created plenty of interest. His training ground methods, tactical approach and abrasive manner was not met with quite the same warmth. McMahon's tenure always seemed likely to end in controversy, and so it did. Glory were fourth when he quit the club after a public slanging match with then chief executive Jeff Dennis in December 2005.
BUM DEAL FOR BOUTS
Fined $20,000 for his role as a getaway driver in the 1998 robbery of a Victorian Chinese restaurant, Con Boutsianis was no stranger to controversy. So it might not have surprised everyone when after scoring a goal against Melbourne Knights in 2000 he claimed to have been providing entertainment when he dropped his shorts in front of the Shed supporters. The action, which revealed the logo of his personal sponsor Fila, earned him a yellow card from referee Eddie Lennie and, later, a club fine.
RED IN PURPLE AND WHITE
Robbie Fowler might not have had the impact at Glory many fans had hoped for but they turned out in force for his debut game. More than 16,000 piled into nib Stadium to catch a glimpse of the Liverpool legend, who was a peripheral figure in Glory's 3-3 draw with Fowler's former club, North Queensland Fury.
FIGHT NIGHT II
It was supposed to be the season of goodwill but on December 28, 2006 tempers flared between Glory's Adrian Webster and Harnwell following a frustrating 0-0 draw with Adelaide United. Punches were thrown in full view of spectators and the contest continued in the change rooms. When the dust settled, the players were each fined half their match payments.
Vas Kalogeracos scored Glory's first hat-trick in a 4-0 win over South Melbourne at home on April 12, 1997. The diminutive striker scored in the fourth, 43rd and 45th minutes, and celebrated after the game by blowing kisses to the crowd.
A send-off, two streakers, a packed attendance and an unforgettable goal were the trimmings during a spectacular Christmas fixture in 1996. Almost 15,000 fans piled into then Perth Oval on December 28 to watch Glory let slip a two-goal lead against Melbourne Knights, and Dale Wingell receive a red card, before Scott Miller rescued maximum points with a stunning last-minute volley. It was the start of something good.
A LONG WAY FOR NOTHING
Life in the A-League has not been kind to Glory but there was brief hope that the tide would turn in 2010 when they reached the finals for the first time. The reward for their season's effort was a long trip to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix, where Scott Neville scored Glory's first A-League finals goal in response to Chris Greenacre's opener. Perhaps predictably, the match went to a penalty shoot-out and Phoenix prevailed.
Nigerian international Samson Siasia, who had played at the 1994 World Cup, made a sensational start at Glory with a goal in his debut in October 1997. Just eight minutes into the match, Ernie Tapai delivered a perfect free kick that Siasia met with a superb diving header to put the home side in front. The occasion was dampened somewhat when Adelaide City scored four times to wrap up a comfortable win. Despite Siasia's early promise, he failed dismally to live up to expectations and scored only two more goals in the 1997-98 season before departing.
Tapai made his feelings known by walking out on Glory at half-time of a 4-3 loss to Newcastle Breakers in 1998. The Socceroos midfielder missed a first-half penalty and was substituted at the break. Rather than stay to watch his teammates battle their way back from a 3-1 deficit, he showered, changed and headed home. In a similar incident two years later, Hamilton Thorp showed his disgust at being substituted during the first half of a match by ripping off his shirt and throwing it to the ground. Tapai was fined. Thorp's Glory days were over.