Heart and Aloisi on track

With recent results increasing scrutiny on Melbourne Heart boss John Aloisi, veteran coach Ron Smith says the former Socceroo just needs time.

At first glance Melbourne Heart's decision earlier this year to appoint an untried coaching duo seemed like a massive gamble.

While head coach John Aloisi and his assistant Hayden Foxe got to the very highest levels as players, throwing them together for their first senior coaching jobs surely was too big a risk.

A little bit like a proud father giving the keys to his Porsche to his learner-driver teenage too soon.

There's a chance everything will be OK but it's more likely to end in tears.

But those doubters - and there were a few - only needed to look at a name that appeared a little further down on the Heart's coaching list to ease any fears they couldn't make it work.

Because a few months before the Heart appointed Aloisi, they had already sounded out veteran coach Ron Smith for a role at the club.

When it comes to football knowledge in Australia, few have the experience and credentials of the 63-year-old, who has not only worked with the country's best young talent at the AIS, but also played a vital role with the Qantas Socceroos.

It's the perfect fit for all concerned and no doubt has helped the rookie clip-boarders with their daunting initiation into full-time coaching.

"I wouldn't say I'm their mentor or anything like that but I told the club when they spoke to me, I'm always happy to help out where possible," a modest Smith said of his role.

"I've been around for a while and have done most jobs there are in football but I can't commit full-time.

"From their perspective they know me and what I believe in and I know what they need and it works for everyone.

"I've spent a lot of time analysing football and still to this day it's a huge passion of mine.

"After over 30 years of doing it every day you obviously have something that you can pass on.

"When things come up in conversation I can draw from that experience and tell them maybe to focus on this as it's more important and not to worry too much on another aspect."

He is just the type of person you want in your corner.

Like his role with the Socceroos, Smith is employed as a technical advisor for the club.

He analyses video of the Heart's games, breaking down every little aspect of the team and individual performance as well as giving the coaching staff tactical analysis of their upcoming opponents.

The beauty of modern technology means Smith does all these from his own little office from his home in Canberra.

"The Heart invested in my Sportscode system so it's easy to transfer the information from one place to the other," Smith explains.

"We speak over the phone, have conferences on Skype and it works well because we can both have the information up on the screen at the same time.

"I will get to Melbourne every now and then but I'm mainly there to help where I can and to bounce ideas off.

"Part of my role is to educate the staff so they can do the work I do in the future."

While in typical Smith fashion he is keen to play down his influence over the pair's development, there's no doubt his opinion and meticulous planning is already shining through.

And it's comforting for Aloisi to know he can pick up the phone whenever he wants for advice, or just a general chat about football and life.

"Ron is the most knowledgeable coach we've had here in Australia for a lot of years and has produced a lot of players through the AIS, probably the best group of players we've had over the last 20 years," Aloisi said.

"A lot of us went through there and still talk about Ron as one of the best coaches we've had across our careers.

"Ron is non-stop analysing the game and he recognises the changing trends in the game.

"So to have him on board is fantastic for the players, who will learn a lot from his specialised technical analysis."

The first month of the A-League season has been a mixed bag for the Heart's new coaches but Smith has urged everyone to give them time to settle into it.

"It's not just about the fact that it's Hayden and John's first year of coaching," he said.

"You need to remember the Melbourne Heart have had a lot of turnover of players this year. They lost three of their best young players overseas and have eight or nine different players in the squad.

"They have almost had to start from scratch again and it does take time.

"It's going to take time but I think they're very much on the right track."