NPL clash turns friends into foes


Work colleagues John Gibson and Michael Garcia will be in opposite dug outs this weekend, when Perth Glory FC entertains Inglewood United in Week 6 of the PS4 National Premier League.

Gibson is the head coach of the Glory youngsters, while Garcia, who works in the club’s Community department, is head coach of United. 

But come Saturday afternoon friendships will turn to rivalries as both men chase three points.

“Michael is a good friend and colleague, and we catch up frequently for a coffee and chat to discuss all things football, especially the nice challenges of coaching,” Gibson joked.

“The banter has already started, but all in good fun. Both sides and coaching staff are competitive and we’re both looking forward to the game.” 

Garcia said he and Gibson regularly talk football, but didn’t hold back in admitting he was hunting down three points on Saturday.

“I’m close to Gibbo, in that I work at the Glory, and constantly try to seek his guidance and advice about coaching and football in general,” he said.

“I admire his approach and will definitely be going through the game afterwards, getting his thoughts and views”.

“But of course we need to win to get our season going, so we need to have that mindset.” 

Glory was unlucky not to have come away with a least a point last week against ECU Joondalup and Gibson said he was impressed by a mature performance from his youngsters.

“They (ECU) have some real quality, including former UK professionals Jon and Andy Higgins, ex Perth Glory’s Tommy Amphlett and ex Glory Youth players Jon Stynes and Ryan Lowry,” he said. 

“However the game was evenly matched, and with a little more quality in the final third the result could have been different.

Inglewood will be searching for its first victory of the season and Garcia conceded it had been frustrating, drawing three of the opening four games.

“It’s been a frustrating start to the season, but after a poor first game we rebounded to draw against Perth SC, Bayswater and Balcatta,” he explained.

“We showed in those games that we are capable of matching it with the best; however we need to be more clinical in front of goal to reward the good lead up work and convert the performances into results.”

The form of the Glory youngsters hasn’t surprised Garcia. He believes the work Gibson and his assistants, Jacob Burns and Steven McGarry have put in, is now reaping rewards.

“They have been well prepared and coached for a while now and Gibbo and Burnsy have given them the belief and created a great atmosphere which was obvious in their successful Foxtel National Youth League campaign”.

The game kicks off at 3pm at Inglewood Stadium, Hamer Parade, Inglewood.

In the earlier games Callum Salmon’s Under 18’s, who are top of the table take on Inglewood 18’s at 11am, while its first against second in the Under 20’s, at 1 pm.

Entry is free to Perth Glory FC members.