Perth Glory owner Tony Sage says WA’s tough border situation has left the A-League club in dire straits, but he’s backed away from comments that he was thinking of walking away.
Glory hoped the arrival of former Liverpool and Chelsea star Daniel Sturridge would spark a huge increase in memberships this season.
But with WA expected to tighten its border policy once other States start opening up in November and December, the prospect of Glory being able to host its usual allotment of home games appear slim.
As it stands, Glory will start the ALM season at home to Adelaide United on November 20, before playing at least the next five games on the road.
If the WA Government refuses to allow rival teams to fly to Perth without undergoing a lengthy quarantine, then Glory may be forced to play even more games on the road.
Sage sent the rumour mill into a spin on Wednesday when he stated that the situation made him consider throwing in the towel.
The mining entrepreneur moved to clarify those comments after the club’s season launch on Thursday, allaying fears he would walk away.
“Over the 14 years of all the difficult times, this is one of the most difficult, because members want certainty, the players want certainty,” Sage said.
“So it’s very difficult for me as an owner to look forward when I got hit with that (news about the border) straight after getting off the plane.
“But after today seeing the corporate support we got, there seems like there’s enough support here for Perth Glory to continue on.”
Sage has already lost about $30 million during his 14-year tenure at Glory, and said it was only sustainable for the club to continue as long as he’s around.
He said Glory would suffer another huge loss this season unless the club could play home games in Perth.
“It is dire straits. It’s difficult. As one owner, the loss last year was $4.25 million,” Sage said.
“We expected the membership campaign to get in 10,000 to 12,000 members. That’s what we need to break even, and we’re only sitting on about 6000.
“We’re halfway there, we’ve only got four weeks until the beginning of the season.
“It’s very difficult financially, so the comments I made yesterday were purely a reflection of that.”
Sage is hopeful the WA Government will agree to a proposal that would result in teams who fly to Perth going straight to the hotel, playing the game, and then returning straight home.
Meanwhile, former Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O’Neill has been named Glory skipper for the upcoming A-League Men’s season, while Natasha Rigby will captain Perth’s women’s side.