After putting in a man-of-the-match performance as his Melbourne City downed Western United, goalkeeper Tom Glover is eagerly anticipating the chance to play a Grand Final in front of friends and family that have been able to witness so little of his career in person.
Though now City’s undisputed number one heading into Sunday evening’s decider against Sydney FC, Glover has taken a long and windy road to get to this point.
The 22-year-old spent several years in the academy setup of English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur as a teen but, despite being a regular contributor at U18, U21 and U23 level, his tenure was one that didn’t produce a single senior cap.
Sent out on loan to Central Coast Mariners in 2017/18, he logged just four appearances between the sticks as the Gosford-based side crashed to the wooden spoon and another subsequent loan move to Swedish side Helsingborg didn’t result in a single minute of senior football.
Arriving in Bundoora ahead of the 19/20 season at the conclusion of his Spurs contract, he sat on the bench behind Dean Bouzanis until December, when he made his competitive debut for City in a 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets.
But after two more starts for the club, he was off again; this time heading overseas as the first choice for Graham Arnold’s Olyroos’ squad that ended Australia’s long Olympic drought by qualifying for the Tokyo games.
Nonetheless, returning to the starting line-up of Head Coach Erick Mombaerts’ in City’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory in round 18, Glover hasn’t looked back – starting every game since as the Citizens qualified for their first-ever A-League Grand Final.
No wonder he got a bit emotional after his side’s 2-0 win over Western.
“I was thinking about that this morning, when I was walking over to [talk to Fox Sports] it came over me,” Glover told journalists on Thursday.
“There’s been ups and downs the last couple of years and it’s kind of reward paying off for hard work – for myself and the time. Also, the sacrifices that we’ve made these last seven or eight weeks, leaving friends and family and staying in a hub.
“For me, I was part of an A-League team where I only played four games and we got the wooden spoon. To Sunday, going to play in a Grand Final. For me, on a personal level, these are the good times and you work through the hard times to get to these times.”
A former Sutherland Sharks junior, Glover now also has the chance to lift the A-League trophy in front of friends and family, who were also on hand to watch Wednesday evening’s 2-0 win over Western United.
“I had some family, my friends and girlfriend in the crowd last night,” Glover said. “You probably could have heard my mum; she likes to yell a lot – she can’t contain herself.
“I’ll have all my friends and all my family supporting me [on Sunday].
“It’s very rare that I get to play in Sydney having been overseas and down in Melbourne, so they don’t get to watch me every game. So, for them to watch last night and Sunday and to maybe top it off [with a title] will be even more special.