Former Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns has tipped his former club to again struggle this season, and emphasized the A-League Men’s need for promotion and relegation.
Burns said the threat of relegation would hold top flight teams who consistently struggled accountable, while a national second division would increase opportunities for young players.
While Burns predicted Glory would improve this season, he felt the quality had increased across the league and they were not the only club with a stronger squad.
“I think right across the board, every club that I’ve looked at and their recruitment, they’ve improved for sure. I do think it’s going to still be a tough season for Glory, based on the recruitment at other clubs as well,” Burns said.
“I think they will have an improved season, but I do think it’s still going to be a difficult one.
“Depth is probably going to be an important factor for them, I think they look quite strong in their first 11, but a lot of things will have to align in keeping their best players on the park and making sure they’re fit and well.”
The 11-time Socceroo, who notched up 114 games for the Glory before working for the club in a variety of roles until 2020, said he was saddened to see his former club pick up the wooden spoon last year.
“I captained the club and worked in the space as a coach and sports administrators for some time to create a club that was challenging for things, so to see where they’re sitting at the minute is extremely disappointing. I’m saddened by it,” Burns said.
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson supports the implementation of a second tier below the A-Leagues and the Association of Australian Football Clubs released a report in February outlining the best possible model.
Burns said a national second division would lift the standard of the game in Australia and motivate weaker A-League Men’s teams to improve.
“Eventually, promotion and relegation has to happen. The greater number of teams gives greater number of opportunities for all our young players coming through,” he said.
“You have to, otherwise you’re rewarding mediocracy. In seasons gone by, there’s teams that I’m sure would have been forced to change and further invest if they knew that they needed to stay up.
“If they were in the bottom, one, two or three teams that would be going down, they’d be doing a lot more with their recruitment, a lot more in their investment in order to stay in the top flight.”