Former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic to lead Perth Glory

Former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has set his sights on turning Perth Glory back into a powerhouse after being appointed coach of the embattled A-League Men side on a three-year deal.

Glory had been without a coach since Ruben Zadkovich stepped aside in June.

The club was thrown into further turmoil last month when owner Tony Sage handed back his licence amidst ongoing financial woes.

Glory are still on the lookout for a new owner, but they at least now have a coach – and a well-credentialed one at that.

Stajcic led the Philippines national team at the current FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Although the world No.46 Philippines didn’t make it through to the round of 16, they beat NZ 1-0 and were competitive in a 2-0 loss to world No.20 Switzerland.

Previously, Stajcic guided the Matildas to two Asian Cup finals, the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup, the quarter-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics and a highest-ever position of fourth in the FIFA world rankings.

The 49-year-old also led Central Coast to the ALM finals in the 2020-21 season and won two premierships and two championships as coach of Sydney FC women.

Now, Stajcic wants to help Perth relive their NSL glory days by transforming them into an A-League powerhouse.

Glory’s only title success since the berth of the A-League came in the 2018-19 season, when they won the premiership under Tony Popovic by finishing first on the ladder, before losing the grand final to Sydney FC.

Stajcic said aiming for finals in his first season in charge was a “non negotiable”.

“If you’re playing in the A-League, if you’re playing in any elite competition and you’re not aiming for finals, you probably shouldn’t be there,” Stajcic said.

“I vividly recall the late 90s and early 2000s when Perth Glory revolutionised the National League with its connection to the city, its level of support and a team that was leading the way on the pitch.

“They changed the landscape of Australian football at the time.

“I believe an incredible opportunity now exists to re-establish Glory as one of the giants of Australian football and that vision is one shared by everyone at the club.”

Star forward Ryan Williams and defender Jordan Elsey have already departed since Sage stepped down as owner.

Stajcic hopes his appointment will help add stability and convince the rest of the playing group to stay.

“There’s nothing worse for a player or even staff members than uncertainty,” Stajcic said.

“Hopefully today clarifies a lot of that for the playing group, and we can move forward together unified and in one direction.

“It’s a new period for the club, and a sense of renewal for the club.”

Stajcic was controversially sacked as Matildas coach in 2019, just five months out from the World Cup in France.

Despite that, Stajcic’s heart remains firmly part of the Matildas.

“There’s no bridges burned at all,” he said.

“Obviously I coached a lot of those players for 20 years, so you’re going to have an attachment and connection to them.

“Those relationships have been there since the players were 13, 14, 15 years of age until now, when most of them are 29, 30.”

Stajcic, who will arrive in Perth next week, will be joined at Glory by his long-standing assistant Nahuel Arrarte and analyst Stevan Antonic.