Victory's timing off-beat
Backing the coach, it's a novel idea but one Melbourne Victory would do well to follow through on. Some are calling for Jim Magilton’s head - a reasonable reaction given the poor run of results since the Northern Irishman took charge.
The recriminations and finger pointing had started long before the weekend, but with Victory-s season now definitively over, the murmurs of discontent are set to reach a crescendo.
Some are calling for Jim Magilton-s head - a reasonable reaction given the poor run of results since the Northern Irishman took charge. His predecessor, after all, was shown the door for less.
Magilton wants to stay, and, naturally, wants to make his own alterations to the squad.
“I'd say it needs freshening up a little. Personnel, culture . . . it all needs to change," he said.
The real decision Melbourne Victory need to make though, is to confirm once and for all who is going to take hold of the tiller and steady the ship in the long term. Only then should it be appropriate to look at the squad.
Not since Ernie Merrick-s successful reign has a new manager been able to work with a pool of players entirely of his own choosing.
When Merrick left the building on 12 March 2011, Marcos Rojas (11 March), Tando Velaphi (8 February) were the most recent signings under his watch. Enter Mehmet Durakovic as ‘caretaker- coach and cue the signature and re-signing of Jean Carlos Solorzano (28 March) and youth player James Jeggo (21 March).
Isaka Cernak arrived in April, having already agreed terms in the October of the previous year.
On the 21st of June, it was Durakovic himself that put pen to paper along with new Football Director Francis Awaritefe. The duo-s five months in charge saw Fabio (15 September) sign a deal to the end of the season, Lawrence Thomas arrive (15 September) and Ante Covic (4 October).
The headline act though was of course the signing of a three-year deal by one H. Kewell in August, which seemed to consume the club to the exclusion of all else.
While Awaritefe left in November, Durakovic hung around until the 6th of January. That date is epiphany on the calendar, and it appears the Victory board thought they were having one.
“We have given Mehmet every chance to succeed this season, but we found (onfield) we were inconsistent and lacked direction.
Our decision is based on the need to have consistency in our direction”.
Consistency, in theory at least, arrived in the form of Jim Magilton, signed to guide the Victory through to the end of the season and a finals berth.
As with his predecessor, Magilton has, courtesy of the salary cap and financial restraints in the A-League, had to play the hand he was dealt.
Despite only having an interim agreement, Magilton-s time in charge has seen Foschini, Leijer, and Franjic re-sign, while Milligan and Luzardo have penned short-term deals. There is now talk of Gold Coast-s Adama Traore having agreed a contract.
Once again the cart has been put before the horse. If Magilton now departs, the vicious cycle will be repeated. A new coach will arrive and have a squad of players he might not necessarily want.
If Melbourne are to gain this ‘consistency in direction-, the scattergun approach of the past 12 months must surely cease.
Decide on a coach, back him to the hilt and only then allow him to build a squad.