When asked if winning a Hyundai A-League Grand Final with Glory would mean more to him than claiming it with another club, Scott Neville’s response was unequivocal.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“It’s the club that gave me my first opportunity as a professional player and the club that I grew up supporting as a WA boy. Having made it to two Grand Finals and not won either of them, I would love nothing more than to do it with Perth Glory.”
The most recent of those Grand Final appearance came, of course, in 2016 when the defender’s second-half goal could not save Western Sydney Wanderers from defeat at the hands of Adelaide United.
But his first taste of the competition’s showpiece event came in 2012 when he was a late substitute for Glory as they lost out in controversial circumstances to Brisbane Roar.
Now, having returned to his old stomping ground, he believes that the club’s progress in the intervening five years is clear to see.
“The professionalism of the club has definitely risen, as it has throughout the whole of the A-League,” he said.
“The stadium has changed a lot and looks awesome. There’s a buzz around Perth Glory now which is something I was used to when I was a youngster watching them play in the old NSL. The club is doing everything a lot better these days and when I go along to promos and events, I come across a lot more kids in Glory shirts which is great to see. Hopefully we can bring some silverware back and keep engaging with the community.”
So having experienced his fair share of ups and downs while over east, was it an easy decision for the 28-year-old to head back to WA?
“It was,” he said. “After moving away from Perth five years ago, I’ve really grown up a lot, learned a lot about myself and expanded as a person and as a footballer. I’ve come back a more mature and complete person and player. There were some tough times at Newcastle. The ownership issue with Nathan Tinkler got a little bit nasty and I also tore my ACL when I was there which is never an easy injury to overcome. But every footballer has their own battles and luckily I came out at the other end better for what I’d been through.”
Returning to Perth has also enabled Neville to take a more active role in pursuing one of his main off-field interests; property.
And that means Adam Taggart now has a serious rival for his position as the club’s preeminent real estate tycoon.
“When I was younger, one of my main goals was to buy a house at as young an age as possible,” he said, “and throughout my adventures around the country, I managed to get a bit of a portfolio going. I also went on some courses through the PFA. It’s pretty exciting working on the properties and so on and it’s a good hobby to have. Now I’m back in Perth I can keep a close eye on a couple of them. I’m pretty handy in terms of being able to do repairs and so on, but I’m lucky enough to have a lot of mates who are tradies and they tend to help me out.”
When he’s not on Glory duty, keeping tabs on his properties, or coaching junior players, UK-born Neville maintains his lifelong support for Tottenham, a passion that was passed down from his dad, former pro and current Sorrento assistant coach, Steve.
“My dad’s family are all from London and he’s a big Spurs fan,” he said. “I could have picked one of the clubs that he played for, but none of Southampton, Sheffield United, Exeter City or Bristol City really appealed all that much at the time! I was actually a Manchester United fan to start with, but then I saw the light!”