Hyundai A-League shock: Popovic resigns as Wanderers coach

Western Sydney Wanderers have confirmed that Tony Popovic has resigned as the club’s Hyundai A-League coach, effective immediately.

Popovic has accepted a coaching opportunity in Turkey. 

The former Caltex Socceroos defender was the Wanderers inaugural coach in 2012 and led the club to the Hyundai A-League Premiership in their first season.

The Wanderers qualified for three Grand Finals and won the 2014 Asian Champions League under Popovic’s tutelage.

Popovic said the five seasons he has spent with the Wanderers hold some of his fondest footballing memories.

“Today is a very difficult day to announce my departure from the Western Sydney Wanderers," Popovic said. 

“The timing is not great and you don’t plan these things. It has come up very recently and it is an opportunity to get my foot in the door in Europe.

“To see where the club has grown in five years, I leave with a lot of amazing memories. I’ve got the utmost respect for our Members and fans that have changed the landscape of Australian football.”

Popovic looks on the bright side

Wanderers Chief Executive Officer John Tsatsimas said the legacy Popovic will leave the club cannot be understated.

“Tony has been fundamental to this club’s success and growth since our inception in 2012 and leaves a lasting legacy that this club will use as a platform to continue our rapid growth,” said Tsatsimas.

“He will forever remain a great part of our history, leading us on our course to be globally recognised and respected as a football club.

“While we have always known Tony was destined to have a great future coaching on the global stage, just as he did as a player, we are sure he will look back fondly on his time with the Western Sydney Wanderers with pride in the achievements we have made as a group.”

The club will now expedite its search for a new coach with a number of candidates already identified and a thorough vetting process to take place.