Heading for Pastures New

December 3, 2013 at 10:46 am 6 comments

News that Steve Pantelidis has left Perth Glory to going Selangor in Malaysia may have come as a shock to some Perth Glory fans, but to others possibly its timing was a bigger shock. Pantelidis is 30 years old and the new regime at the Perth Glory has a strong accent on youth, and therefore he would have been well aware that his time at the club may well have been limited. The signing of former French international William Gallas and his subsequent relegation to the bench may well have sped up his move.

Glory fans should never forget the impact his selection along with Steve McGarry’s had on the club’s season in 2011/12. It was their joint inclusion that saved coach Ian Ferguson’s job, turned Glory’s season around and saw them launch a nine game unbeaten run that meant that they made finals and then progressed to the Grand Final.

His move though is not necessarily a good sign for the Hyundai A League. Pantelidis has won the A-League championship twice and has also won the Premiership twice with Melbourne Victory. Just seven years ago he was named The Age newspaper  ‘young player of the year.’ One would have thought that he would be a player many clubs would want in their squads for his experience and his pedigree, but the Malaysian Super League is able to offer more money and security than the A-League.

The word is that this season has seen more players in the Hyundai A-League being signed on minimum wage salaries since the league’s inception. If that is the case we are likely to see more and more players around the age of 30 looking to head overseas, as many A League clubs, it would appear, are unable to afford to keep them.

This would indicate that the A-League is about to become a development league for young talent. Some will say it already is such a league, but that is not entirely true. The league has been a competitive one where development has evolved with young players being given opportunities in the first team alongside experienced professionals. However if the financial rewards are not going to be there for senior, experienced players, and young players are going to be selected for financial reasons as much as for their ability the standard of football is likely to drop for a period and so too is the league’s appeal.

These are interesting times for the Hyundai A -League. Many believing that this year is already a two-horse race between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers; two clubs ahead of the rest in terms of depth of squads and playing structures.

The interesting thing to watch is whether more players of Pantelidis calibre opt for League’s many would expect, based on the performance of those country’s national teams’s, to be lower than Australia’s, but where the financial rewards are greater.

Is the A-League at a crossroads? Time will tell. In the meantime we wish Steve Pantelidis the best of luck and are sure that Glory fans will thank him for his contribution.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eamon Duffy  |  December 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    The thing that gets me is that the club will not stand in the way of a player. That is what the club says. That in itself belittles the A-League, if the clubs themselves think that Malaysia is a better league than the A-League. In my opinion if a player is signed to a contract then either the club sells for a transfer fee or the player waits until the end of the contract. No more of this we are the poor relations.

    Reply
  • 2. notthefootyshow  |  December 3, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I agree. The sad thing is Eamon the clubs let players who they are not going to re-sign go, as they feel they are doing the right thing by the player, and it saves them money. However the fans understandably view it entirely differently.

    It is a difficult situation, a club prevents a player leaving and then tell him he is not getting a new contract a month later. If they demand a fee how much is a one month playing contract worth? (end of Jan – Feb if don’t make A League finals). Even though they are usually signed until May.

    Reply
  • 3. Stephen  |  December 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Glory let him go while Gallas has yet to prove his fitness, smart move! As usual all down to saving money.

    The A-League is as you say now becoming a youth league with the exception of in the main, Sydney, Mariners, Wanderers and Roar, and these four teams will contest the finals the rest are very poor.

    What do you expect though when the league was not built on strong foundations and neither is the NPL. The FFA have down everything on the run and in five years all the staff will have gone and the game will be back where it was 20 years ago.

    Reply
  • 4. Paul  |  December 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Doesn’t look good for Dodd, Burns and Smeltz does it

    Reply
  • 5. Not The Footy Show  |  December 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Stephen, I tend to agree the four clubs you have mentioned have the experience to go all the way. I also agree the league was not built on strong business principles and that is why each owner is struggling.

    Paul – Not good for those three, I expect Burns may be the safest of all. Smeltz will need some game time and some goals. I doubt he would be re-signed as a marquee player though.

    Reply
    • 6. Paul  |  December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      oops I forgot Stevie McGarry also?

      Reply

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