Perth Glory’s seven-month wait for new ownership and far greater stretch of instability came to an end last week, as Melbourne property developers Pelligra Group were installed as the Club’s new owners and Ross Pelligra its new Chairman.

The period since Tony Sage ended his fifteen-year ownership in July 2023 has been traumatic for the Glory on multiple fronts. On-field they were unable to retain Oliver Bozanic and Salim Khelifi when they otherwise would have; preceding that, a sale to potential owner Robert Brij collapsed at the eleventh hour -’a real kick in the guts’, according to Glory CEO Anthony Radic.

After some time on the fringes of Australian football looking in, Pelligra has invested in the local game. There is no doubt his sporting interest is genuine; in addition to the 100% interest his company hold in Italian Serie C side Catania, they also hold stakes in Australian baseball, basketball and ice hockey clubs.

‘Initially we saw [a change of ownership] as an exciting opportunity, because we didn’t foresee being in receivership for too long. We were trying to get it done before the start of the season and were progressing to that end, before the unfortunate events of the failed ownership attempt’, Radich told Box2Box.

‘That sheer uncertainty has a rippling effect right through the club: fans don’t know where you’re headed, corporates are reluctant to engage because they want a sense of direction you can’t afford them. We were then impacted in the transfer period, and that wasn’t easy to deal with or accept but was par for the course of where we were at.

‘It wasn’t a great period, but our players and staff have been amazing in their resilience and stoicism in light of those circumstances. We now have certainty around the Pelligra Group’s vision, a longer-term view with dedication to investing in a new home, which shows the faith they have in what they can deliver the Club.’

To see the Glory into its own home would be a mighty achievement for the new regime. In 2021 the club moved its training and administration to Fremantle Oval, where a redevelopment saw further displacement to Swanbourne, while they often also frequent Macedonia Park where their Women’s side play home games.

‘The vision for a home is something the Club has been aspiring to for some time, pre-Ross, and one of the silver linings to come from our displacement out to Macedonia Park and the City of Stirling is we’ve formed a very close relationship with that local government. We’ve informed them of our aspirations there, so that’s opened up discussions.

‘There’s an identified site within that locality, and having someone like Ross and his group with the ability to bring it to life is really exciting. There are a few sites we’re looking at, and that one has a lot of potential in terms of where it’s located, proximity to public transport, etc.’

‘Having a developer that can actually bring that to life takes it to another level. Trying to procure venues and fields to train is a job in itself, so to bring everyone under one banner, make it feel like home and have everyone connected is critical to the long-term sustainability of the Club.’

It can be dangerous for any organisation to spend too long gazing nostalgically at past successes but for whatever reason, mention of the ‘Glory Days’ of the late-90’s, and Tony Popovic’s 2018/2019 Premiership machine, retains a warm fondness among the fanbase that doubles as a desperation to see them succeed again. More than most, leveraging the past seems crucial to their future.

The most apparent marker of the Glory’s health is demonstrated by its famous ‘Shed’ supporter group and the junior terrace directly in front of it, and recent weeks have seen the end packed. Pelligra’s donation of 3,000 tickets for U16’s at last Saturday’s clash with Wellington was an early indicator of the community focus he declared in taking over.

‘The Glory was probably ahead of its time, a scene and trend setter for the sport in what it offered from an entertainment point of view. Kudos to Nick Tana and Paul Askos and their vision – at the time it was one club not centred on ethnic lines but stood for the city.

‘What they delivered as a game-day experience product was second-to-none, sort of Pre Big Bash with what that’s evolved into. Together they invested in getting the best talent over here, both local and interstate, and on top of that were really committed to the local community. Those ingredients really shouldn’t change.’