Victory, Merrick part ways

Melbourne Victory have confirmed that they have parted ways with foundation coach Ernie Merrick.

Melbourne Victory have confirmed that they have parted ways with foundation coach Ernie Merrick.

The Victory announced that the two-time A-League Grand Final winning coach's contract was terminated by mutual consent at a media conference on Saturday.

The club's chairman Anthony Di Pietro and managing director Richard Wilson fronted the media to explain the decision.

"The board of Melbourne Victory can announce head coach Ernie Merrick and the club have agreed to part ways," Di Pietro said.

"This decision has been reached after an extensive board review of all parts of the business. We determined the best way forward was to part ways and Melbourne Victory are to undertake a new coaching direction."

"Ernie's been obviously a very successful coach and we are appreciative of this, however, we've mutually agreed it is time to part ways.''

Di Pietro denied claims that Merrick had been sacked and re-iterated that the decision was a mutual agreement, before explaining that a new manager will help the shape the vision of the Melbourne Victory as they move forward.

"There's been no sacking here. The details of the discussion remain confidential. Ernie and ourselves left on amicable terms," he said.

"We are undergoing some very important changes at our football club. We have a new leadership and a clear vision moving forward."

"This is one, to grow our brand domestically and internationally. Two, to drive our revenues and ensure the club's sustainability, and three, ensure we are always highly competitive on the field."

"We believe today's agreement along with some very exciting player signings will assist us in achieving our objectives."

The club's disappointing end to the Hyundai A-League season - which they saw them first-round final losers against the Gold Coast - and their dreadful start to the AFC Champions League, which saw them lose their opening game 5-1 to Gamba Osaka, had played a part in the decision according to Di Pietro.

"Our club sets extremely high standards and we're disappointed by the results in this A-League season along with the start to our AFC Champions League campaign," he said.

"Our intent is to continue to be the benchmark club in the A-League and be successful in Asia and believe this decision will assist us in taking us to that level."

Merrick had one year remaining on his contract and was the longest serving Hyundai A-League manager.

Youth team coach Mehmet Durakovic will step into Merrick's shoes while the club wait to appoint his successor, with Durakovic to be thrown straight into the deep end on Tuesday night when the Victory host Jeju United at AAMI Park in their first AFC Champions League encounter.

Di Pietro said the club's quest for a new manager had not started but said it would be a national and international search.

He refused to comment on speculation that out-of-contract Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou would take Merrick's job at the end of the season.

"As far as Ange is concerned, we wish him well tomorrow, (for the Grand Final) but we haven't commenced the search yet,'' Di Pietro said.

He also explained that current assistant coaches Kevin Muscat and Aaron Healey and football operations manager Gary Cole would keep their jobs for the time being.