In January, Glory transformed their season and turned themselves into A-League title chasers by signing Andy Keogh, Shane Lowry and Krisztián Vadócz.
It was anticipated that last season’s salary cap scandal could see supporters desert Glory but instead membership numbers rose by around 1000.
Coach Kenny Lowe and CEO Peter Filopulous decided to repay the faithful by asking the boss to dig deep and he also bankrolled the signing of fringe Socceroos’ striker Adam Taggart, although he is ineligible until next season.
“I wanted to repay the people who signed up and it was about saying to them 'we don't want to finish last, we want to have a crack at it',” Sage said.
“It’s always hard when you are down at the bottom and the coach and CEO come and ask for more money, it’s a difficult decision.
“It was ballsy to say 'go ahead, let’s do it'. I could have said 'let's plan for next season and bring in a bunch of new players in June and July'.
"That was the alternative to bringing in Shane Lowry, Andy Keogh, Krisztián Vadócz.
“Given what happened last year with salary cap disaster. I owed it to the fans to try and salvage something from the season, even though were dead last in December.”
While Glory’s stunning run of 10 wins from 11 games came to an abrupt end as they were steamrollered 4-0 by Sydney FC last weekend to finish fifth, Sage says he will be very disappointed if they fall at the first hurdle in Sunday’s elimination final against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
“We are still the form team … and I’d be very disappointed if we don't get past Melbourne City,” Sage said.
“Before Sydney game we’d won four in row on the road. Victory are in the same boat as us and I think they will beat Brisbane (in their final).
“Ten weeks ago nobody thought we'd be in with a chance of fifth, and we could have snatched fourth of we'd played well last weekend."
Sage also saluted Keogh, whose return to the club saw him break an A-league record with eight goals in eight games.
“He had some other offers but I think he wanted to show loyalty to the fans in Perth. His name was muddied wrongly during the cap drama and he wanted to repay their faith,” Sage said.
“He took our offer, even though it was on the minimum amount because we were up at the cap limit for this year. A lot of credit goes to Andy and also the powers of persuasion of Kenny and Peter to convince me to make those decisions.
“In the end it was good call … I could have saved myself $500,000 and just concentrated on next year.
“But from the word go the fans came back when probably people thought we'd lose members and end up with 4-5000. To get 1000 more was a good indication that we are going in the right direction.”
Sage is praying that Johnny Warren medal candidate Diego Castro shrugs off the hamstring injury which saw him miss out against Sydney, and likewise pacey attacker Chris Harold, who also missed that match with a hamstring tweak.
“These two are key players for us. We’re hoping they make it with the aid of our medical staff," he added.
“Castro was man of match against City a couple of weeks back in the 3-2 win and Harold was very good early that day.”