Steve Glockner, the most successful senior head coach in ACE history, has stepped down.
After six years, three premierships, three grand finals, two promotions and a Canale Cup, Steve said it’s “clearly time” to hand over the reins.
“There were so many reasons and so many signs,” he said, “but I’d like to call this a sabbatical.
“I’ve been coaching 24 years non-stop and am happy to be leaving ACE in better position than when I arrived.
“It’s the best club I’ve ever been at. I’ve had the best president to work with. I was really lucky Pouria (Nabi) kept chasing me to come to ACE.
“I turned him down twice, but in the end, it was the best decision I could have made.”
ACE President Tony Dooley said Steve and assistant Alex McMillan will always be held in the “highest regard”.
“Steve came with a history of success with previous clubs in the Football Queensland environment and quickly instilled a winning mentality in our senior playing group, which was to remain for years,” Tony said.
“Known as firm, yet fair with his players, Steve was always a pleasure to deal with and in the six years, he had my total belief and support as the senior coach.
“His record at ACE speaks for itself and the memories created of grand final victories, premiership and Canale Cup successes will always be cherished.
“His coaching combination with (assistant) Alex McMillan has remained steadfast and given the club its most successful period in its remarkable 60-year history.
“We will always hold them both in the highest regard as coaches and also as great club people away from the playing field.”
Steve joined ACE in late 2017 when the FQPL was about to launch and many Brisbane Premier League players were heading for the state’s new second tier.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Steve said, “it seemed about 15 of the 18 players had left and we needed a complete rebuild.”
Sean Lewis was one of the first to sign and gradually a squad came together. “Then we won our first seven games and the belief took off,” Steve said.
ACE won their first Brisbane Premier League (BPL) Premiership at North Pine on an unforgettable night, but a second rebuild was needed for 2019.
The premiership was retained by three points over Toowong, who we also met in the grand final where goals from Ryan Shaughnessy and Ally Russell did the double.
“To win back-to-back premierships was the most success I’ve had in coaching,” said Steve, who always put league position ahead of finals glory.
“In the early days it always seemed to us and Grange. They were tough games.
“I remember Ryan scored a winner in the 90th minute at Grange which was very pleasing as we’d been taking some stick from supporters behind the dug out!
“Then the big games were against St George (Willawong). In 2020 (COVID-hit season reduced to 11 games) they won, we were second.
“The next season (2021) we kept side together and I said I wanted to wipe out last season. I wanted to go undefeated and be first. That was the target – and we did it. It didn’t happen by accident.”
Indeed, ACE smashed records in that final BPL campaign, winning 19 and drawing three of 22 games to take the title by 16 points.
ACE also scored 102 goals, had three of the league’s top four goal scorers (Shaughnessy, Russell and Josh Cartman), won the Canale Cup for the first time and the regained the Club Championship.
With teams merged into the FQPL last year, Steve immediately took ACE to promotion from FQPL 2, rebuilt again and playing in the highest level in club history, ACE finished sixth in FQPL 1, Queensland’s second tier.
“If you had asked me early this year, would I take finishing sixth, I would have said yes,” Steve recalled.
“It has been a rollercoaster year. Second in the table at halfway was a fantastic achievement, but I knew there was a possibility we could slip back.”
ACE’s final home win of the season, 2-1 over Western Pride, was a graphic illustration of the “rollercoaster” and team spirit.
Leading 1-0 – missed a penalty – Pride equalised – ACE had two penalty appeals turned down – lost a player to a red card – played the last 15 minutes with 10 men – scored in the 90th minute – and held out for 10 minutes of added time!