LFE Saga no distraction for players: Kilkenny
Perth Glory central midfielder Neil Kilkenny says the recent drama surrounding the club and the London Football Exchange (LFE) has had no impact on the playing group.
He told SportsDrive on Wednesday it had been business as usual for the team after a busy schedule, including a trip to play FC Tokyo in the Asian Champions League.
“No, not at all. We’ve been concentrating on playing,” the 34-year-old said.
“Us as players we know our jobs, what I will say is that Tony Sage is a fantastic owner, he’s put a lot of money in to the club and he’s very passionate. He needs a lot of applause for the passion and support he gives not only Perth Glory but football in Australia.”
Owner Sage was set to sell up to 80% of the club to the cryptocurrency group, the deal falling through as allegations emerged surrounding LFE owner Jim Aylward and an ongoing legal case in the UK high court regarding ‘fraudulent misrepresentations.’
The saga has been described as embarrassing by several key figures in the sport, but Kilkenny says the focus now turns immediately to their next assignment, Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
“As players we are just focussing on playing football, that’s our job and we love what we are doing, hopefully we can keep doing that for a long time.” He said.
“Newcastle have always been that team that can cause some damage, they’ve got some talented individuals. If you get them on a good day it can be a bad day for the opposition. We’ve got to focus on us as a team, work as a team to help each other and I’m sure we’ll come away with a positive result.”
Kilkenny has had a fine season for Perth, fifth in the competition for most passes and sixth in crosses with his link up play in midfield.
It has led to some pundits calling for his return to the Australian national set up, having represented the Socceroos on 14 occasions, including at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The former Melbourne City player would welcome the opportunity, having been mentioned in dispatches by Aussie coach Graham Arnold.
“ It’s nice for a national team manager to be talking about you, hopefully he will keep me in mind for the Socceroos.” Kilkenny said.
“All I can concentrate on is playing for Perth, I’d definitely welcome the opportunity to try and get myself in the squad if I could.”
The Glory face a tough stretch of games ahead across the A-League and ACL competitions, with three matches in eight days in two different countries.
Kilkenny said it was a challenge the players were excited for.
“It’s brilliant isn’t it? We’ve worked hard, that’s what pre-season is all about, getting your fitness base, trying to work hard during the season to maintain that through games and training, the staff have done fantastically well last season and this one as well.” He said.
“Everyone is ready, if they’re called upon they are ready to step in. We’ve got really good players who haven’t played much this season, but we know was a group we’re confident in any individual who gets the opportunity and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Glory play the Jets on Saturday, before facing Ulsan Hyundai FC in the ACL next Wednesday.
IMAGE: Fox Sports.