|By GARETH MORGAN
Alistair Edwards has been appointed full-time coach of Perth Glory.
Initially brought in to replace Ian Ferguson on an interim basis, the former Australia international striker has guided the A-League side to two wins from his four games in charge and already placed a greater emphasis on developing local young talent, an area of focus he believes is vital if the club is to recapture its former glories.
"It's a huge privilege and honour to be given the opportunity to manage this great club," he said.
"There is a really strong, positive vision and philosophy for the club for the next three to five years and I'm honoured to be given the opportunity to play a role in that process.
"One of the key points of the plan is that Glory must be the pinnacle of WA's development pathway.
"Speaking from my own experience, I had to leave the state as a 17-year-old and I didn't come back until I was 29 because there was no opportunity to play at the highest level in WA.
"The fact is that there are far too many players who have left the state over the past three to five years and we want to stop that trend.
"And if they eventually do go on to play in the Bundesliga or England or wherever, at least they will have continued their football education in WA and at Perth Glory."
Eli Babalj, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Jones and Rhys Williams are among the big-name West Australians to have slipped through the Glory net in recent years, as is Edwards' own son, Cameron.
And the 44-year-old admitted that he is determined to try and tempt some of those players into returning to their home state.
"One of the priorities is to bring those players back to play for this great club at this fantastic new stadium," he said.
"There are a number of players who are playing at various A-League clubs and in Europe and those are the ones we are looking at to see if they'd like to come back.
"Are we going to be able to change that overnight? No, because some of the players have got two-year contracts or they're settled and they don't want to come back at the moment.
"But the best thing about the plan is that it's a long-term vision.
"Yes, we want to have immediate success on the field and we are going to aim for that, but the whole thing is that we want to move towards having a balance of top- class international and Eastern States players and local players that the WA public can identify with.
"We are moving towards sustainable success.
"There's no point in us finishing in the bottom four for three years and suddenly we reach a Grand Final and the next year we're back down the bottom again.
"We need to provide a succession plan where we are back to where we should be, fighting for a top-four place."
Deputy chairman Lui Giuliani, meanwhile, claimed that Edwards' appointment would benefit not only the club, but football in the state at a more general level.
"Alistair's clear football philosophy and direction is perfectly aligned to the club's long term plan," he said.
"We firmly believe that this appointment represents not only the appointment of a head coach, but a new direction that will lead to a healthy and exciting future for Perth Glory and Western Australian football."