So long Kenny, the A-League will miss you

Say what you like about Kenny Lowe, but what a character. And in a time when the game is starved of big personalities, it was impossible not to listen whenever he was near a microphone.

Perth Glory Kenny Lowe A-League

Former Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe Source: Getty Images

Some of his one-liners will live forever in A-League history. His witticisms and observations were matched only by Miron Bleiberg; the competition’s most original and unique personality.

Alas, it would have to come to an end someday. The ride was fun while it lasted, even though it’s hard to escape the feeling that Lowe was a permanent interim, if such a thing were possible.

And yet, five years on, he departs as the longest serving coach of the A-League’s oldest club. You’ve got to hand it to him: compared to when he arrived, he leaves with his reputation greatly enhanced.


One pleasing element is that Lowe’s wonderful work as a junior coach in the Western Australian system is now well known - as is the number of players he helped guide into the professional ranks. It's a remarkable effort.

You’d have to think he will be in demand for such a role in the future, unless he fancies moving back into his other (and far more lucrative) career as a mechanical engineer in the oil and gas world.

He also made the Glory genuinely competitive at times, and who knows how far they would have gone in 2014-2015 had it not been for a salary cap scandal beyond his control.

But it wasn’t always rosy for Lowe. He never hesitated in baiting or straight-out battling the media, who he often held in contempt.

If he liked the question, he could deliver a zinger that would leave you in stitches for days. If he didn’t, his response revealed a different side.

“My mates are all the same, we’ve all got that mentality, sarcasm is the biggest weapon we’ve got,” he told News Corp in 2015. “The humour thing also deflects from a bit of pain and adversity.”

A harmless question about certain topics - especially his tactics or football philosophy - was like a red rag to that sarcastic bull. He felt he wasn’t respected by the Australian game’s influencers, especially on the “East Coast”. Nothing made his blood boil more.

Despite being backed to the hilt by chairman Tony Sage and CEO Peter Filopoulos, a rift soon emerged between Lowe and the fans. Ultimately, it couldn’t be mended.

As the year wore on, the pressure only grew. That culminated in the infamous training ground spray in January, laced with expletives. He kept the support of his superiors until April but after the finals slipped away, so too did any chance of him staying on.

Now the club must dig deep. Really deep. Perth Glory has reached a crossroads - yes, another one. Crucially, they are still trophy-less in the A-League era and bereft of an identity, which is incredibly disappointing given all they stood for in the NSL.

Perth’s fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in the sport and haven’t been backwards in coming forwards. They deserve better than this. They deserve more than false hope. They need some real conviction. That’s the true challenge from here.

The next coach doesn’t have to be a big name but he needs to bring a convincing vision that everyone can embrace. Momentum hasn’t been seen in Perth for a while now.

But with the A-League in a state of flux, those with the boldest vision will reap the biggest rewards. Glory’s internal review, overseen by Jacob Burns and which led to Lowe’s dismissal, must surely reach the same conclusion.

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4 min read
Published 20 April 2018 at 5:37pm
By Sebastian Hassett