Sydney must follow Victory's example
A big-name signing, an inexperienced coach taking an early exit, results going south - Sydney FC would do well to heed the lessons learned by Melbourne Victory last season.
"Let's not panic.”
You could forgive Sydney FC for ignoring those three simple, yet possibly defining words from Brett Emerton with regards to the current coaching situation, and ultimately, on-field direction of the club.
Rooted at the foot of the table on the back of three straight losses tends to have that effect where common sense gets swept under the carpet.
And when a team like Sydney FC begins to unravel in front of a world-wide television audience because a man voted as one of the game-s top 125 players of all-time happens to be running around in a Sky Blue jersey, panic may not only be rife behind closed doors, it could make its debut as the club mascot on match day.
At this point in time, however, the decision makers at Sydney FC appear to be heeding the calls for calm.
Perhaps the memory of Melbourne Victory derailing last season is still fresh in the mind?
Back then, Australian football-s own golden boy, Harry Kewell, rode into town, and with him, a packed circus with sky-high expectations hitched on the back. Poor results in the opening rounds proved fertile grounds for unsettling debutant coach Mehmet Durakovic, and before too long, the axe was wielded and Durakovic was gone.
With the exception of the axing scene, the Sydney FC tale of season 2012/13 thus far has a similar ring to it.
Rather than assessing how Victory went about its business in the aftermath of the Durakovic sacking, Sydney FC board should take a peep at what Victory are doing now under Ange Postecoglou, which has granted the two-time A-League championship winner the freedom to use his template for future success - arguably an opportunity that should have extended to Jim Magilton when the Northern Irishman was named as Durakovic-s replacement in early January last season.
A position on the table is never going to take precedence over Postecoglou-s long-term vision, simply because he — and his employers — know it-s a vision that wins championships.
That belief buys patience, which in turn paves the way for confidence and self-belief to flourish.
Sadly for Magilton, he never got a chance to implement a vision, so we don-t really know how good he could have been. With a UEFA Pro Licence in his hand and a desire to play an attractive brand of football, who knows what he could have achieved.
With the shackles on and building blocks cast aside, all he could do was scoop water out of a sinking ship using a colander.
It could have been a similar fate for Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson, who seemed destined to join the unemployment line at Christmas with just one win from nine matches. Patience from club owner Tony Sage prevailed, and a grand final appearance ensued.
The stats are far from flattering from a Sydney FC viewpoint: five losses from seven outings, 20 goals conceded and sitting in rock bottom place on the table.
On paper, the situation sounds dire. Sydney FC, however, are not a bottom-of-the ladder team. Bereft of confidence, vision and stability they are, but a team charged with the responsibility of holding up the ladder from 10th place is not reflective of the talent within their ranks.
It-s one of the reasons why Emerton declared: “it's not panic stations. I think the club should take their time and make sure they appoint the right manager”.
Whoever that new manager is, hopefully he-s given the time, freedom, and above all, patience to make his mark on a team requiring stability, direction and vision.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of FFA or the Hyundai A-League.