Almost 300 days have passed since Kenny Lowe was handed the Head Coach position on a permanent basis.It’s been a busy time at the club, 15 rounds have come and gone and Perth Glory has gone about its business, sitting four points clear at the half-way mark of the competition
We felt it was time to share this article from our first Glory Land match day magazine with fans who may have missed Kenny’s thoughts leading into the start of the season. A big thank you must go to our GL editor Gareth Morgan for his time on this story.
GloryLand: Thanks very much for your time, Kenny.
If we could start by briefly reflecting upon last season, what do you feel that you learned as a coach from that experience?
Kenny Lowe: More than anything, just to believe in myself and do things the way I want to do them.
Then, whichever way it heads, whether that be north or south, I know that I’ve been honest and true to myself. That’s the way forward for me.
GL: When you first took over the reins on an interim basis, you talked about the need for honesty among the playing group and more recently, you spoke about signing blue-collar players.
Can you expand on those comments?
KL: We have made a concerted effort to get people into the club who care and want to do the right thing. Obviously they want to do well for themselves, but they also want to do well for each other and that’s a good commodity to have.
I come from a working class environment in the north-east of England and was brought up in a certain way by my parents. That’s something that has rubbed off on me and my brother and sister.
Along with the rest of the coaching staff, I want to bring a work ethic to the club, to create a team where we all work hard for each other.
Every player that we’ve brought in has that ethic, that way of going about their business.
They are all focused on trying to better themselves and doing the right thing.
Dino Djulbic, for example, really fits that model.
He’s always up, which may partly be due to the fact that he constantly seems to have a coffee cup welded to his hand!
But in all seriousness, he’s a great fella to have around the place.
Sometimes he can cause a bit of a scuffle and sometimes he can cause a bit of a laugh, but he’s always honest and hard-working and that’s the same with all the boys.
GL: How useful was it to have the two competitive games in the FFA Cup as part of the club’s pre-season preparations?
KL: Those two games were fantastic. You can go stir crazy during a 16-week pre-season, so it was great to have those games to focus upon.
You could see the lads getting a bit uppity and then we’d have one of those FFA Cup games and win it and you could see the mood in the camp change.
Winning is a fantastic thing for everyone, it keeps everyone up and sparkling and focused.
It’s been a really good competition for us.
GL: Every Glory manager since the advent of the A-League has been asked how he plans to improve the club’s record on the road. What’s your approach to that issue?
KL: We’ve already managed more away wins in the FFA Cup than we did in the whole of the last A-League season and I think if we can change that away form for the better, we’ll have a fantastic opportunity to make the finals.
I’ve spoken repeatedly to the players about the need to go away from home and be really difficult to play against. And that’s not about systems or tactics; it’s about each individual player on the day deciding that they are going to be so uncompromising and so focused that their direct opponent is not going to have a good 90 minutes.
If we do that, no matter how we set up, we’re going to have a good chance in any of those games on the road.
GL: You certainly seem to have assembled a squad with more strength in depth this year.
How happy are you with the recruitment that you’ve done?
KL: We probably need another forward and another centre-back, but there’s generally a lot of competition for places and we do have midfielders who can play at the back and other midfielders who can play up front, so there is plenty of flexibility there.
The lads know that they have a battle on their hands to earn a place and keep that place and, at the end of the day, the players choose who plays by their attitude, desire and performance.
GL: There have also been some changes in the coaching staff, what can you tell us about those?
KL: We’ve brought Danny Milosevic on board as the new goalkeeping coach.
Neil Young did a great job and we know Danny will do the same.
John Gibson’s on board as well, Andy Ord is back with us and Toby Horak has joined us as the new strength and conditioning coach.
We’ve got a good vibe among the coaching group.
It’s a hungry group of people who want to do well and hopefully that hunger and drive to succeed will get transmitted to the playing group.
GL: On the subject of the playing group, Michael Thwaite has been appointed as the new club captain. What prompted you to give Thwaitey the armband?
KL: Michael has been at the club for a good while now and he’s a winner.
I was with him at the A-League season launch a couple of weeks ago and we were standing by the championship trophy. Someone asked him what he wanted this year and he said that he wants to be even closer to that trophy at the end of the season.
He’s been captain at other clubs and he provides a calming influence because he’s quite thoughtful in the things that he says. I’m sure he’ll be great for the team and for the club.
GL: We’ve seen you employ a number of different formations during pre-season, will you continue to make those changes to the system during the A-League campaign?
KL: I’d like to be able to play one way and just have another option in the back pocket if we need it.
Brisbane play one way and win things, Western Sydney have played one way and won things and Central Coast have played one way to a certain extent and won things as well.
We’d like to have a way of playing that intimidates people, so that we don’t change to suit them, they change to suit us. If we get that, it means that we’ve arrived.
GL: At a wider level, do you feel that the quality of A-League recruitment in general means that the competition will be stronger than ever this season?
KL: Unfortunately, yes! Every club has improved. As well as the players, the quality of the coaching has gone through the roof in the last few years.
It’s going to be tougher than ever and I’m really excited about being involved in it.
The Socceroos got a really positive response from their World Cup campaign and Western Sydney’s progress in the ACL has been really inspiring.
These are great times to be involved in Australian football and I’m enjoying every minute of it.