Who's to blame at Victory?
Sackings, poor performances, no leaders on the field and a foreign coach who has convinced no one - Melbourne Victory missing the finals series is a joke.
The day Jim Magilton was appointed coach of Melbourne Victory, I happened to be in Melbourne for the Victory v Jets game.
So I took to Twitter and tweeted the following: “Frank Farina and I have had issues, but I would have taken Farina or a Branko Culina over Magilton any day of the week to coach Melbourne Victory-. My opinion.
At half-time during the game I walked into the corporate area where I was met by a Victory official who was surprised to see me and said, “Come meet our new coach.”
I stood there thinking “What the hell? Sounds like nobody here knows what I tweeted earlier in the day.” So I said, "Sure, I-d love to meet him."
So eight hours after advocating others for the coaching job here I was standing toe-to-toe with Magilton. I said “I-m always for home grown coaches getting jobs if I believe a foreign coach is not better than what we have here, but I wish you the best of luck anyway.”
A half-surprised, half-dirty look was the reaction and then a simple, “Thanks” was the reply. I was being brutally honest - I wanted him to know that expectations are high to perform in the A-League.
Three months down the track with Melbourne Victory missing the finals it would be easy to say, “Thanks Jim, have a nice flight back.” But who really is to blame for the disastrous season?
Victory need leaders, but who at the club can lead? Kevin Muscat did in the past. Harry Kewell is taking on more of a leadership role, but is more a brilliant individualist who can make something out of nothing, and he needs other strong characters on the park around him to make a successful team.
Ante Covic is a genuine leader, but too far away from the play as a goalkeeper. The authority and presence of certain individuals on the park is the driving force - it-s the difference between having a good team or a great team.
Players on the park need to feel pressure from the sideline from the coach, but it-s vital they also feel pressure on the park from certain teammates who possess leadership qualities.
Melbourne Victory need players that have character and can deal with the pressure that comes with being at Australia-s biggest club - players that compliment the brilliant individualists, the ones that perform, the ones that others respect, the ones that take responsibility through trying times instead of just passing it on.
Some level of responsibility must also be taken by the coach by not getting the best out of the players on hand, some level of research must go into learning about the players at disposal before a coach takes a job - otherwise don-t take the job. Coaching jobs are scarce though, so most probably many don-t even care - it-s being in a job that matters.
Foreign coaches as well as players have to show they are better than what we have here. The same rules that were drummed into my ears on a weekly basis as a foreign player during my career should apply in Australia as well.
The biggest issue at Melbourne Victory, though, has been the board. They have to be commended for luring Kewell to the A-League, but pretty much everything else has resembled a circus act.
They brought in a rookie coach with youth team experience to Australia-s biggest club where pressure and demand is highest - Mehmet Durakovic has a future in the game as a coach, but the Victory job was way too much, way too soon. Then a director of football, in Francis Awaritefe, was sacked after only a few months.
Melbourne Victory missing the finals series is an absolute joke, and a kick in the guts to the loyal fans that this club has had from day one. Big decisions lie ahead for the club; it will be interesting to see if the mistakes of the past are learnt from or just swept under the carpet.