Glory turnaround satisfying: Ferguson
At a time when billionaires are baulking at backing an A-League club, Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson says he has every faith in owner Tony Sage.
And no wonder.
Five years after Sage was part of a conglomerate that took over the Glory licence, he has emerged as the last man standing as Perth qualified for their first A-League grand final against defending champions Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Just four months ago though, Ferguson had every right to feel jittery.
In the same season Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer and Newcastle Jets' Nathan Tinkler were lost to the A-League - albeit in very different circumstances - Sage looked set to kickstart the list of lost benefactors in December.
Back then, Sage sensationally claimed he intended to hand back the club's licence to Football Federation Australia at the end of the 2011-12 season - only to backtrack on those threats.
Mind you, even the most passionate Glory fan would have lost faith around Christmas time.
Ferguson looked like a dead man walking as Perth free-falled from second to eighth after a stretch of 11 games without a win.
Yet a 3-3 draw with the Roar proved the turning point as Perth went on to enjoy their best regular season since they claimed the last NSL title in 2004.
An unbeaten eight-match streak helped the Glory reach their highest A-League finish (third) and the most regular season points (43).
Oh, and the Glory have also qualified for the Asian Champions League for the first time.
Needless to say, Ferguson was feeling validated ahead of the season decider.
"We were under all sorts of pressure around Christmas time," Ferguson said on Saturday.
"I didn't think we were playing bad football. We just weren't getting the rub of the green or the right results - but the boys came through and have been outstanding since Christmas.
"We have taken a lot of crap from a lot of people and it's nice to see us in the grand final.
"It's nice to come through after all the stuff thrown at you."