Van 't Schip's unique challenge

The newly-appointed coach of Melbourne's new Hyundai A-League club, John Van 't Schip, said the unique challenge of building a club from scratch is what drew him across from Holland to take the job with the Melbourne Heart consortium.

The newly-appointed coach of Melbourne's new Hyundai A-League club, John Van 't Schip, said the unique challenge of building a club from scratch is what drew him across from Holland to take the job with the Melbourne Heart consortium.

The club will start it's Hyundai A-League existence in less than 10 months, and it doesn-t even yet have an official name, let alone any players. But the appointment of Ajax assistant Van 't Schip is the most significant step to date, with the 45-year-old Dutchman ready to get stuck into signing players and building a club.

"I love the game, I'm passionate for football and the challenge that I see here is unique, because you can help build a club from scratch. That was for me, very important also," he said at a press conference announcing his appointment on Monday.

"I've worked in Holland and Holland is great country to work in, but the thing that got me was the challenge to go abroad again. It-s not that I only want to work in the Dutch League or the European leagues. I think it-s good to have your attention around different parts of the world. I was recently in Canada. I had good talks with people there. It-s all about loving the game, and I think that people do the same thing here."

Van 't Schipp has a footballing pedigree to match the best in Europe having spent over a decade at Dutch giants Ajax as a player, and the past few years under legendary Dutchman Marco van Basten as an assistant coach. His time in charge of FC Twente earlier this decade whet his appetite for senior management and it was apparent that opportunity wasn't going to come at Ajax.

"I wanted to be head coach again, and so we had talks about where could that, be in Holland, in Europe, or elsewhere, we were clearly that for us, it was open. We went into talks with Melbourne, the feeling was really good from the start."

Within four days of his first visit to Australia, Van 't Schip was being unveiled as the new coach, becoming the latest in a string of Dutch coaches deciding to forge their reputation in Australia.

"Australia, in a lot of people's point of view, is a great country to work with athletes. I've worked with a few Australian boys and I think the mentality of sport here is good and at a high level. That was a point. The country, its similar to Europe in a different way. The mentality is European here. Those things, and of course that Guus (Hiddink) was here two years ago, made the attention only more," he said.

"I've talked to Pim Verbeek. I've spoken to Han Berger. I think that the mentality is good, the players want to learn, that's important."

But he realises his task is very different to those Dutchman who have come before him. None of them has had to build a team from scratch and for that reason, he will enlist the help of local assistants.

"I would like to work with an assistant from here, because I don-t have all the knowledge of the Australian football. I've got John (Didiluca - football manager) of course, who's going to help me. I think it-s also good to have an Australian coach nearby, who can help me and advise me with things that are particular for play here in Australia," he said.

"I think it-s good to not always bring the people here from Europe. If I don't think I can find the right quality, then maybe I would change my mind, and take someone from Europe, but it's not my first pick. I would like to see and find someone in Australia."

He also revealed that the club has already a target list of 40 local players which they intend to speak to over the next few months.

"The way I see it, you have to have certain qualities for the players. So we-re looking around for that. We have already 40 players that John has written to, that we're following them. We're probably having talks to them. I'm going to see a lot of games in the coming weeks, and we're going to have some talks, but to announce names now is not what we are doing," he said.