The emergence of Mulvey
I first met Mike Mulvey in a quiet café hidden away from the party central of Cavil Avenue and Surfers Paradise.
I first met Mike Mulvey in a quiet café hidden away from the party central of Cavil Avenue and Surfers Paradise. He-d just finished a tumultuous season at Gold Coast United and I was in the Sunshine State to ask him a few questions about his coaching philosophy. That was two years ago and he struck me as a man destined for bigger things.
But I would-ve never thought that two years later he-d be lifting the Premiership trophy up the road at Suncorp Stadium as head coach for Gold Coast-s hitherto bitter rivals Brisbane Roar.
Not that I didn-t doubt his ability. Far from it.
Mulvey exuded a quiet air of confidence and clarity of vision over the hour-long chat over coffee. But this was a coach who wasn-t a former Socceroo or a well-known former player in our national leagues - in A-League coaching terms he was an outsider.
And with so few jobs available it-s a huge task to even get a job. Even his accent was more Manchester than Mooloolaba.What he was, though, was a coach who felt his time would come. One day.
He-d quietly gone about his business in Queensland since arriving in the state in the 1980s as a player (he-d enjoyed a modest career with Brisbane Lions in the old NSL playing against the likes of Ange Postecoglou at South Melbourne and alongside Bobby McSkimming, Steve Jackson, David Hunter and even a young Nick Meredith for the Lions).
He-d built a reputation in youth coaching circles since the turn of the new millennium with first the QAS then United-s youth sides before being plunged into the senior job at the club after the bizarre parting of ways of the club-s head coach Miron Bleiberg and the acrimonious split of owner Clive Palmer.
With six games left in that season, and the club in chaos, Mulvey calmly put in place a clear plan of action, as he explained to me at the time.
“We had a method, we had belief and most importantly, I told the players I trusted them; no matter what happens. I think this helps in self-belief,” he said at the time.
“We decided to simply concentrate on our game.
“My mantra all along was: players, preparation and performance. While everything else was going on outside [of the playing group], we had to keep them together,” added the English-born coach.
The players I spoke with at Gold Coast raved about Mulvey-s man management.
This tweet from current Wanderers keeper Jerrad Tyson summed up the feeling from the then Gold Coast squad after Mulvey moved on.Of course, Mulvey didn-t succeed Ange Postecoglou when the current Socceroos boss left Brisbane. That unenviable job went to the obvious choice, Roar-s long-time assistant coach Rado Vidosic. Obvious because he had so much experience in the A-League and was considered key to the Ange-led Roar revolution.
That, as we know, fell apart pretty quickly. And like Gold Coast Untied, Mulvey was the man installed to make sense from the chaos after a stint with Victory-s W-League side.
Now, the scary thing for the rest of the league is that Roar-s potential hasn-t yet been reached. Likewise their coach. Another dynasty looms.
And who knows, Mulvey could end up coaching the A-League All-Stars against Juventus later this year?
If so, it-d cap a remarkable rise for an outsider who is now the flavour of the month across the A-League.