Coolen had to go

Ten months after making a bad decision, Adelaide United have finally made the right one.

Ten months after making a bad decision, Adelaide United have finally made the right one.

When Rini Coolen signed a four-year contract extension back in February, few Reds fans would have predicted he-d be out the door by December.

But Coolen was the wrong man for the Adelaide United job because he thought an authoritarian approach was all that was necessary to get results in the Hyundai A-League.

And for a while, he was right.

The Reds finished third in the league in Coolen-s first season in charge, entertaining fans with an attractive brand of football and offering hope they could win a championship under Coolen-s stewardship.

But the cracks were already starting to appear when Adelaide sold reliable defender Iain Fyfe to K-League side Busan I-Park in January and replaced him with Dario Bodrusic.

The unheralded Croatian was promptly released at the end of last season, yet his wasn-t the only questionable signing.

Former Dutch international Andy Slory arrived after a less-than-glorious stint with Bulgarian outfit Levski Sofia, amid the implication Coolen would get the best out of his errant countryman.

Yet by the time Slory departed, his relationship with Coolen appeared so fractured the winger opted to retire instead of prolonging his professional career.

All the while Adelaide cried poor when it came to re-signing Johnny Warren Medal winner Marcos Flores, who ended up at Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye instead.

So it was that Coolen set about entirely rebuilding his squad, showing the door to the likes of Paul Reid, Adam Hughes, skipper Travis Dodd and Adelaide-born fan-favourite Lucas Pantelis in the process.

Demonstrating little regard for the sentiment of fans, Coolen-s autonomous streak was no doubt cultivated at his previous club RBC Roosendaal - where he oversaw the club-s business affairs as well as first-team proceedings.

Perhaps it was this experience that persuaded the Adelaide board to sign Coolen in the first place, yet Roosendaal have since gone bankrupt and the Reds now find themselves sinking ever deeper into the mire.

Coolen said he needed to be surrounded by good people to succeed in Adelaide, but the truth is he alienated those around him with a desperate desire to have the final say.

And when the Reds started losing, the buck invariably stopped with Coolen.

The most farcical aspect of Adelaide-s decision is surely the fact Coolen has now been asked to oversee youth development at the club.

What that means for youth team coach Michael Valkanis is anyone-s guess.

And having already axed several backroom staff in a bid to cut costs, the decision to lock Coolen into a long-term contract reputedly worth more than a million dollars now seems a foolish one indeed.

No wonder the Reds have turned to a familiar face in John Kosmina to try and steady the ship.

Forget all the clichés about passion and commitment and team spirit for the jersey.

Kosmina represents something the Reds desperately need: a coach with an intimate knowledge of the A-League who isn-t afraid to let fans and media play a role.

And even if Kosmina fails to conjure results in his second spell in charge, the Reds can hardly fare any worse than they already have in a forgettable campaign to date.

Perhaps the most enduring image of Coolen-s reign was his haunted look on the sidelines as Brisbane Roar tore Adelaide apart in that infamous 7-1 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.

And while it-s never nice to see a coach told to step aside, the truth is that if Adelaide United wanted to salvage anything from this season, then Rini Coolen simply had to go.