Perth jittery over Popa’s plans
ALL is going swimmingly for the Tony Popovic-led revolution at Perth Glory - but some inside the club fear it may not last beyond this season.
Top of the table with 11 rounds left, Glory look good value to land a maiden A-League title in Popovic's first season at the club.
But there are fears at Glory that A-League newcomers Macarthur South West United will come knocking with an offer that Popovic would find very hard to turn down.
Included in that would be the chance to lock horns with Western Sydney up close and personal, a prospect certain to appeal to Popovic's intensely competitive personality.
The Campbelltown-based consortium will enter the A-League the season after next, and will need a head coach in place within months to begin recruitment of a full squad from scratch.
Technical director Sam Krislovic knows Popovic extremely well after the latter's junior days at Sydney United, and Krislovic has made clear his determination to appoint a local to the role of head coach.
We hear representatives of the new consortium spoke to Popovic previously, before they were granted an expansion licence, with a figure upwards of $800,000 mentioned.
The former Wanderers boss took the Perth job soon after, and signed a two-year deal with the option of another … but then contracts in football tend to be disposable commodities at times.
Meanwhile, the prospect of Perth reaching and hosting the grand final has thrown up a possibly unique scheduling challenge for the fixture boffins at A-League HQ.
The grand final will be on the weekend of May 18/19 - and the Saturday of that weekend looks increasingly likely to be the date of the federal election.
Holding the grand final the same day would mean a significant clash, with polling booths likely still to be open at kick off time.
No doubt Fox Sports will lobby for a Sunday grand final, as they have in the past for fear of clashes with other codes.
A significant number of supporters are expected to rally outside the Opera House on Friday morning in support of Hakeem Al-Araibi, the Australian refugee being held in a Thai prison pending consideration of an extradition request from Bahrain.
The outrageous incarceration has prompted a huge global protest, and rallies will be held simultaneously in Sydney, Melbourne and London.
There could be a familiar face at ANZ Stadium on Friday afternoon for the National Youth League grand final between Western Sydney and Brisbane.
Former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic may be there to support several players on both sides whom he coached previously - the first time he has been seen in public since his brutal sacking less than two weeks ago.
Google translate has an unfortunate label for Sydney FC marquee Siem de Jong, whom it labels an "Ajax mercenary" - bit harsh for a player just trying to string a few games together.
SIX of the Wanderers first team squad will be gainfully employed on Tuesday night, cooking dinners for the families of seriously ill children at Ronald McDonald House next to Westmead Hospital - an admirable initiative now in its fifth year.
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