by Chris EganLike other aspects of our NSL history, Perth Glory's 2003 Grand Final victory was expected to be forgotten by the people of Perth. When Matt Carroll infamously said that Perth Glory was not ten years old, in season 2 of the A-League, we were effectively told to see the 'new' Perth Glory as a different entity from the 'old' NSL Perth Glory. This included forgetting our Grand Final victories.
|The players celebrate Perth Glory's first|
Grand Final win in 2003.
AFL often celebrates ten-year milestones of premierships. The West Coast Eagles Premiership was remembered and lower leagues clubs often commemorate their flags. In an Australian sporting context, this celebration from the fans comes from a cultural acceptance that premierships are revered not just once, but forever. These memories are treasured tokens of our identity as fans.
The FFA confronted these ideas in its attempt to create a Ground Zero. As fans sung You Fat Bastard to the video screen, they continued on what they had sung in 2003.
The football body believed it owned the history, the direction and the way Perth should deal with its past. This central desire to build a club for the A-League, without respecting the past caused serious damage to both the brand and image of the A-League in Perth.
The fans in the Elephant and Wheelbarrow exemplified what the fans have won in the history wars of 2006. One of my mates put on facebook after the game: “10yrs on this game still gives me chills. Thanks to the GFU crew that made the effort to come and watch this piece of Glory history.” The FFA's desire to have a central message and therefore an erosion of Perth's history challenged peoples feelings, emotions and understandings.
Why scrap our history? Why erode a moment that means more to me than you will ever understand? They lacked an understanding that by declaring Ground Zero they have seriously damaged some of the fans who drove the creation of the A-League.
|Not everyone was caught up in the excitement |
at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow
It is clear to Perth Glory that the damage of the Carroll era is still there. Hopefully, the lack of diversification of the A-League message and the football administration's atrocious handling of Perth will never happen again. But deep distrust remains about the FFA and conspiracy theories are aplenty: the FFA hates Perth; they don't want us in the league; they won't allow us to win the Grand Final.
We also articulated a strong stance against Simon Colosimo. Despite winning the Marston medal for best on field that day, his antics after the 2003 NSL season and later in the A-League has tarnished his legacy in the eyes of the fans. Whenever he touched the ball “Judas, Judas, Judas” was screamed at the TV.
|Captain, Simon Colosimo became a target for the boo boys.|
The NSL and A-League eras have been connected together by the fans. They see their history as inter-connected, not separate as Matt Carroll said we should. It proves what many sports historians claim: the fans own the history; nobody else. It is fans who keep history alive.
In 2013 memories have not faded for events that occurred in both the A-League and the NSL. There remeains an appreciation and a love for the past which was said to be ‘irrelevant’ to our future when our tenth birthday celebrations were squashed by Year Zero mentality.
While many argue that Perth Glory is just a ‘franchise’ the legacy of the NSL continues to shape our A-League future.