Perth Glory have officially unveiled their marquee man William Gallas at a press conference at Tony Sage’s Leederville office this morning. The 36 year old Frenchman signing a one-year-deal with the club worth $AUD 700,000 tying him to the Glory until the end of the 2013/2014 season.
Gallas who arrived Saturday afternoon, passed his medical on Sunday with flying colours and is looking forward to playing for his new club, and seeing kangaroos.
Having spent 12 years in the English Premier League with Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea – Gallas is excited for his new adventure.
“Thank you to Jason (Brewer) and the manager (Alistair Edwards) for bringing me here. Also thank you to the fans that greeted me at the airport, it was very warm and i am very excited to be here,” Gallas said.
When asked his reason to come to Australia he explained Alistair Edwards was a big part of it.
“The new challenge for me and after speaking with the manager (Edwards) he convinced me to come here. I want to win trophies with this club”.
Gallas comes with the reputation of being an emotional and passionate player and you can see that with the way he spoke today.
“I feel the target for Perth is to win the league” said the Frenchman who has 84 caps for football powerhouse France.
But he also touched on the importance of the fans being a big factor in a club’s success.
“It is important to have many fans behind the club – the 12th player. I spent 12 years in England and had a great time, unbelievable and I would like to say thank you to the English fans it was amazing.”
Coach Alistair Edwards explained he, Gareth Naven, Neil Young and Gallas were in the boardroom two hours earlier watching historical footage of the club in their ‘Glory Days’, but mainly exhibiting to Gallas the tactical components and style of play which his new club believes in.
The question which is on everybody’s mind though is: Will we see Gallas this weekend when Glory take on Adelaide United at home?
“Obviously we have to look into his match fitness, we will see how he goes during the week,” said Edwards.
“We will be looking at giving William some playing time but we will assess during the week whether to start him or have him come off the bench, but there will definately be game time.”
Edwards believes Gallas fits into the style of play he is instilling at the club perfectly, and that his presence will help not only the younger players coming through, but also for the likes of Scott Jamieson and Michael Thwaite who are pushing for a spot in the Socceroos squad.
“He fits into our style of play perfectly. He has an incredible pedigree playing under the worlds best managers and football teams. His passion is there for everyone to see. He is not only a great player but he is a winner.”
“We see him as an experienced centre back. He’s the type of player we need moving forward as a club. Our defenders are gunning hard for a Socceroos position and they will benefit playing with such a great player as William (Gallas).”
With already a spike in memberships and interest in Perth Glory after the announcement of signing Gallas just a few weeks ago, it has raised the profile of Perth Glory, the A-League and football here in Perth and Australia. With the A-League attracting world class players like Shinji Ono, Emile Heskey, Alessandro Del Piero and now William Gallas. It shows how far the A-League has come since its inception in 2005.
CEO Jason Brewer believes with the addition of Gallas and mix of the best youth in Australian football, the Glory can get the crowds back like in the days of the NSL.
“Our supporters have all watched Gallas for years in the EPL and it will be great for people to see him in the Glory purple. I encourage everyone to get out to nib Stadium this Saturday to see him play,” Brewer said.
“Our initial target is to get 15,000 fans every week, our stadium deserves to be packed out. We are developing strong young players with strong experienced players and we’re going in the right direction with the club.”
Gallas stamping his passion throughout the room and to the Glory fans by saying: ”When I play for a club, I play with my heart. Now I play for Perth I will give everything.”
Gallas has not played a competitive match since April but will have his first training session with his new teammates tomorrow. The coaching staff will be able to assess his fitness throughout the week and time will tell if he will start on Saturday against Adelaide United.
He will wear the number 36 this season.