Ninth edition to be Aloisi's career defining season

If John Aloisi can't guide Melbourne Heart to the finals he'd better beware. Harsh as it may seem, this could well be the season which defines his coaching career.

If John Aloisi can't guide Melbourne Heart to the finals he'd better beware. Harsh as it may seem, this could well be the season which defines his coaching career.

As Aloisi heads into his second season in charge, I'm sure he'll be well aware of the brutal attrition rate which has come to characterise the Hyundai A-League.The churn of coaches in the competition-s brief history is staggering.

In the eight seasons so far, 33 different coaches have occupied the bench across the league. Many of them have had multiple assignments. It-s a job with a shorter shelf life than freshly baked bread. Clubs which are often on the margin when it comes to on-field success have a very low pain threshold when it comes to failure.

So history tells us it-s finals or bust for Aloisi if he is to make a success of his embryonic coaching career.

After a ninth-placed finish last year, one might have expected the axe to already be sharpened for one of Australian football-s favourite sons. With only eight wins from 27 starts, the raw numbers aren-t flattering. Those stats, however, don't tell the full story.

Many of the Heart's problems were out of Aloisi-s control as he saw at least five of his starting XI shipped overseas as clubs came calling to purchase his best young talent.

Curtis Good, Brendan Hamill and Eli Babajl departed early on, while Michael Marrone and Aziz Behich went in January. Couple that with the loss of talented playmaker Mate Dugandzic to a season-ending injury, and there-s no doubt Aloisi was on a hiding to nothing during the last campaign.

Now, having recognized that buttressing the bottom line through player sales might have crippled the squad, the Melbourne Heart hierarchy are determined to give Aloisi every chance to succeed this time around.

Aloisi has been reunited with his former Socceroos team mate Harry Kewell, who's desperate to prove himself worthy of one last World Cup campaign.

Kewell wil be joined by former FC Twente captain Rob Wielaert, one time Brisbane Roar midfielder Massimo Murdocca, former Adelaide United midfielder Iain Ramsay, while Behich has returned from Turkish club Bursaspor on loan. And this week's arrival of another Dutchman, midfielder Orlando Engelaar, promises to be the best signature of the lot. Engelaar has the CV not just to inspire the Heart, but to light up the competition as a whole. With the club still on the hunt for another quality striker to complete their squad, there's no doubt Aloisi has been given the tools to make this season a success.

And then there's the return of Aloisi-s former mentor John Van-t Schip in the role of Technical Manager. The appointment of “JVS” is a fascinating one. He will be available for five of the seven months of the season in 3-4 week stints - acting as a mentor to Aloisi while building an integrated player pathway to help streamline and accelerate the development of the young talent.

Van't Schip's advice and support will be vital to a young coach who learnt his craft as an understudy to the Dutchman. Whether Van-t Schip-s intermittent presence means the arrangement looks better on the drawing board than it does on the park remains to be seen.

Melbourne Heart will also be providing Aloisi with the resources for a full time IT/Technical analysis expert to help him develop his team and his own game plan with a depth of knowledge he was lacking in his first campaign.

Having just returned from Europe after completed his UEFA 'A' qualifications, Aloisi must know that with greater resources at his disposal the pressure to deliver results increases significantly. There is little doubt that Aloisi, the coach, burns with the same desire and desperation that drove him as a player. He-ll know that this year is make or break for his aspirations.