I have to say this blog for Neos Osmos is going to be a little self indulgent, however as it’s a history blog I wanted to expand on the historical notions and themes of the question I asked at the FFA Forum.
What do Perth Glory fans want as part of their history? Do they want to continue to challenge the narrative? Or are they happy with recognition only. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a divided view from the feedback I received on my facebook page – www.facebook.com/gloryNSLyears. I am lucky that people are comfortable in delivering feedback, likes and discussing the issues on the page.
At the forum I put a question to David Gallop about whether statements to the press have to be logical and defined by facts, or whether he can deliver his own interpretation of ‘unprecedented growth trajectory’ in regards to Western Sydney.
The question sought to challenge this narrative of disconnection the past from the present. Now I am not saying the FFA are anti-history at present, but the narrative that continues, that the past is not connected to the future, is something I disagree with.
When David Gallop says, “Western Sydney are on a growth trajectory unprecedented in Australian Sport” I sit back and wonder is that a reflection of reality or can it be challenged.
I am used to asking hard questions of sports administrators, so I asked, “Will the FFA continue to denigrate the Glory’s legacy to promote Western Sydney?” I come to this question, based on the evidence from the interviews I have conducted for the book I am currently writing.
One individual, who had been on the Glory board during the first season of the A-League and had been part of the NSL era as well, gave me this insight on how the FFA viewed Glory’s legacy: “The FFA didn’t really give enough respect for what Nick Tana had done for Australian Football."
So wanting to hear his answer, I asked a direct question regarding how Glory’s legacy should be looked at.
Gallop's response was to the point. He said, “You are wrong, what I was getting at was that we had started from an idea in April to what it is now.”
His statement was a disconnect from the past, but in saying it he didn’t want to diminish Perth Glory’s history.
As a Historian I questioned on my facebook page whether I had a legitimate gripe.
The response was mixed, half said I had overstated the word ‘unprecedented’, that Gallop was not making a statement against Glory’s role in moving Australian football towards professionalism. The other half said it was a legitimate question, because the A-League doesn’t recognise anything pre-2005. But was it right for me to challenge the FFA’s narrative?
One of the central purposes of the book I am writing is to challenge the narrative of the FFA, to assert that it must show more attention to the Glory legacy as part of the story of the A-League. The challenge is embedded in the title of the book, playing on the view that New Football only began in 2005.
In his response, Gallop delivered his perspective on the history narrative of the FFA. He doesn’t see the links many see with the rich football past of Western Sydney and that this automatically connects to season one of the Wanderers. He sees only the growth trajectory of a club grown from ‘an idea’ to a very impressive first season. And that he says is why he made that statement.
I challenged the FFA narrative on football’s past in this country. Some supporters of the club agreed with me, others are simply happy for our history to be recognised but for it to be disempowered by statements David Gallop makes. We should not see the past in the Wanderers, because they are the creation of an idea in April.
There is no right way to interpret and utilise history. But the responses deliver a fascinating insight into whether Glory fans in 2013 believe the FFA’s A-League narrative of the past has to be changed.