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Despotovski steps down as W-League Head Coach

Bobby Despotovski

Perth Glory can today confirm that Bobby Despotovski has stepped down as the club’s Westfield W-League Head Coach.

Glory’s all-time record goalscorer took charge of the team in 2015 and subsequently guided them to two Grand Finals in 2017 and 2019.

He reflected fondly upon his five years at the helm which also witnessed Sam Kerr’s development into a global superstar of the sport.

"I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to what we have achieved," he said, "and I feel that we achieved a lot.

"As well as reaching the two Grand Finals, we played our part in producing one of the best footballers in the world.

"But the proudest thing for me is that this club now represents the people and players of Perth and WA.

"A lot of young players have come through and are continuing to come through and they have to be kept at Glory to ensure its viability.

"In particular, I’d like to thank the two assistants I worked with in Collette McCallum and Jessine Bonzas, with the part Jessine played in the collaboration between the NTC and Perth Glory enabling a lot of young kids to make the step up to W-League football.

"People step in and step out of football for a number of different reasons and I’ll definitely still come to games and support the team."

Glory CEO Tony Pignata was quick to acknowledge Despotovski’s contribution.

"Glory have become established as a consistent force in the Westfield W-League during Bobby’s five seasons in charge and on behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for the huge amount of work that he has put in," he said.

"He displayed the same level of passion for Glory in the role of W-League Head Coach as he did during his playing days with the club and helped provide our Members and fans with a number of unforgettable moments.

"We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours."

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Season start date confirmed

The return of the A-League and Westfield W-League has been announced today with the reveal of the 2020/21 competition calendars.

Both competitions are set to get underway on December 27th and Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata is delighted at the prospect of Glory hitting the pitch once more.

"It’s very exciting to now have a date set for the start of both the A-League and Westfield W-League Season and our teams returning to action," he said.

"I’d like to thank our Members and fans for their ongoing support and we look forward to the Glory Family being reunited when the 2020/21 Season gets underway."

The new calendar means that the majority of the campaign will be played concurrently with the grassroots football season and Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke believes that the timing is ideal for a number of reasons.

"This year’s calendar sees us kicking off two seasons of Australia’s best football on the same day, right in the middle of summer," he said.

"The men’s competition now features 12 teams, including three in Sydney and three in Melbourne, meaning more derbies, more intensity and more fans.

"With families at home together during the holiday season, great weather and games broadcast live on multiple platforms, there are so many ways for fans to be close to the action, at home or in the stadium."

Key Details

A-League regular season to finish at the end of May, with the Finals Series to then begin in June
Westfield W-League Finals Series to be completed in April
Both leagues will feature midweek football as part of condensed fixturing
A-League Structure - 12 teams and 26 Rounds
Westfield W-League Structure - 9 teams and 14 Rounds
The 161 men’s matches will be played over 23 weeks, with the Grand Final set for June and the women’s 57 games will finish with a Grand Final in April
Matches will be broadcast live on the My Football Live App, FOX SPORTS and Kayo, with selected matches on ABC TV
The full fixture schedule for both leagues, including broadcast details, will be released in early November

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Perth Glory FC

Squad Update

Perth Glory can today confirm that Tomislav Mrcela has departed the club and that Nathaniel Atkinson and Andrew Nabbout will not now be joining the squad.

Defender Mrcela, who made 30 Hyundai A-League appearances after arriving in 2018, has been granted an early release from his contract in order to return to Croatia with his wife.

Atkinson and Nabbout, meanwhile, have had their contracts terminated by mutual consent due to the issues surrounding them relocating from Melbourne and in Nabbout’s case, his understandable reluctance to make the move without his family.

Mrcela was quick to thank the club’s Members and fans for their support during his time in the West.

“I had a great two years here which I think, overall, were two successful years for the club,” he said.

“I hope we gave the Members and fans some joy and I would like to thank them all.

“I’m taking many great memories away, leaving as a better man and a better player and who knows what the future brings?”

Perth Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata acknowledged Mrcela’s contribution to the club’s recent success and pointed out that circumstances beyond the club’s control had rendered the Atkinson and Nabbout deals unviable.

“Tomi has performed extremely well for the club over the past two years,” he said, “and we have granted him an early release for family reasons.

“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for his service and wish him all the very best for the future.

“In terms of Atkinson and Nabbout, meanwhile, we are obviously disappointed that two players of their quality will not now be joining us, but unfortunately the ongoing border restrictions have rendered their moves impossible at this time.

“The club is, however, continuing to implement a very aggressive recruitment policy and there are now additional opportunities for other players to join what we are confident will be a highly-competitive squad for the 2020-21 season.”

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Richard Garcia appointed new Glory Head Coach

Richard Garcia

Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that Richard Garcia has been appointed as the club’s new Head Coach for the next two seasons.

A former Glory skipper and Socceroo, Garcia has worked as an Assistant First Team Coach and Head Youth Coach of the PGFC Academy since hanging up his boots in 2017.

The 39-year-old enjoyed an illustrious playing career, during which he represented Hull City in the English Premier League, featured for the Socceroos at the 2010 World Cup, won 18 senior international caps and made over 50 Hyundai A-League appearances for Glory.

Now set to take charge of his hometown club, Garcia is hugely excited by the challenge ahead.

“I’m extremely happy to have been given this opportunity,” he said.

“Being a proud WA boy and having played for and captained Perth Glory, it’s a great honour to now be in a position to take the club forward.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal Members and fans for their ongoing support during what has been a very testing year due to the issues caused by COVID-19 and I hope we will have them back at HBF Park roaring us on in the near future.”

Glory Owner and Chairman Tony Sage, meanwhile, believes that Garcia has all the qualities required to lead the club to further success.

“Richard is an outstanding young West Australian coach who has a deep understanding of our football club and what it represents within the WA football community,” he said.

“He served Perth Glory with distinction as a player and I know he will do likewise as Head Coach.

“Through his outstanding work as Head Youth Coach of our PGFC Academy he has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the talented young WA players we have within our system and I look forward to seeing those players continue their development into the senior ranks under Richard’s guidance.

“Richard has learned his trade working under and alongside a host of top-quality coaches both here in Australia and overseas and has all the qualities required to develop a team and a style of play that makes us all proud.

“This is an appointment that our Members and fans can feel genuinely excited about.”

The make-up of Garcia’s coaching support staff will be confirmed shortly.

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Perth Glory FC

Popovic departs to take up overseas opportunity

Perth Glory can confirm that Head Coach Tony Popovic has departed the club with immediate effect to take up an opportunity overseas.

The 47-year-old former Socceroo joined Glory in 2018 and guided the club to its maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership and second Grand Final in his debut season at the helm.

In his parting comments, Popovic confirmed his belief that Glory is well placed to build upon the success achieved over the past two seasons.

“I’d just like to thank the players, staff, members and fans and everyone involved with the club, as well as the owner, Tony Sage, for giving me the opportunity,” he said.

“I had a wonderful two years, winning the Premiers’ Plate being a fantastic highlight, along with playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Optus Stadium in the Grand Final and being a part of the club’s first foray into the AFC Champions League.

“Then in our second season, coming through a difficult COVID situation and being one game away from another Grand Final.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Perth, working with great people and living in the city.

“An opportunity has now come for me to pursue in Europe, but I’m very thankful to everyone for making my time in Perth so enjoyable.

“I wish the club all the very best and it is definitely in good hands.

“There are wonderful players in the squad and it’s been a great pleasure to watch them perform and grow both as players and as young men during my time there.

“The template has been set for Glory being a consistently successful club having challenged for honours in two consecutive seasons and I’m sure the players and staff can now build on that and maintain that consistency in years to come.”

Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata acknowledged the contribution made by Popovic and stated that he leaves with the club’s best wishes.

“On behalf of everyone associated with Perth Glory, I would like to thank Tony for his efforts over the past two seasons,” he said.

“He has made a lasting and significant impact and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching endeavours.

“The club will now initiate a thorough and wide-ranging process to identify and appoint his successor as the club’s new Head Coach.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Glory Football Director, Jacob Burns.

“At a personal level, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every day working alongside Tony,” he said, “and wish him the very best of luck in his next role.

“A legacy of players and coaches being successful is that they attract interest from elsewhere, but the template and structures that Tony has helped to develop will remain in place and stand the club in good stead as we continue our bid for sustained success.”

The club will not be issuing any further comment at this time.

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Glory swoop for exciting duo

Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson

Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson have both signed for the club.

27-year-old Socceroos forward Nabbout arrives in the West having scored 31 goals in 108 Hyundai A-League appearances during two spells with Melbourne Victory and one with Newcastle Jets.

Atkinson, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the brightest young defenders in Australia having represented his country at both Under-20 and Under-23 level and already played nearly 60 A-League games for Melbourne City.

Both players have penned two-year deals and Glory Football Director Jacob Burns believes that the double signing represents a massive coup for the club.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have secured the services of two of the A-League’s very best players in their respective positions,” he said.

“A host of clubs both in Australia in overseas were vying to sign them and it is a testament to what we have built here at Glory in recent times that they have opted to come to us and be a part of our future.

“Nabbout is a proven goalscorer with World Cup experience whose pace and power excites fans.

“He also brings a strong mentality and work ethic which will fit perfectly into our club dynamic.

“Atkinson is a similarly exciting and explosive talent who has just enjoyed a breakout year with Melbourne City.

“He can operate equally effectively on either side of the defence and given that he is still only 21, will continue to improve in the coming seasons.”

The arrival of Nabbout and Atkinson takes the number of players currently contracted to 15 and Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata is confident that the squad is shaping up well ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 season.

“These two latest signings illustrate in no uncertain terms our determination to build upon the success the club has enjoyed over the past couple of years,” he said.

“We are assembling a squad which we are confident will enable us to be extremely competitive both domestically and in the AFC Champions League.”

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