Is Kosmina saving Adelaide or United saving Kossie?
John Kosmina will return to Adelaide United (AAP Image/Bryan Charlton)
With four points from his first two games in charge, John Kosmina has already been labelled the saviour of Adelaide United. But it may just be that Adelaide United will be the saviour of John Kosmina.
For all Kossie’s success in his first stint at Hindmarsh it will be remembered for underachievement and embarrassment. The final year of the NSL was Adelaide United’s first. The Reds finished third on the table, but were hammered 5-0 in the preliminary final by Perth Glory.
The first season of the A-League saw the Reds finish on top, seven points clear, but finals failure resulted in United finishing a disappointing third. Then there was the 6-0 abomination in the grand final a year later that lead to the end of Kosmina Version 1.0.
Similar frustration and failure has followed Kosmina across his managerial career.
He never coached the defunct Newcastle Breakers to a finals appearance and between 1999-2003 he lead the Brisbane Strikers to just one finals series. In the 2001/02 season the Strikers finished fourth on the table before being smashed 4-1 on aggregate by a 5th placed South Melbourne.
Post-Adelaide, Kosmina went to Sydney FC mid-season to replace the sacked Branko Culina. Kosmina managed to drag Sydney FC up into third that season, but once again his team was defeated comprehensively by a lower-ranked opponent and put out of the title race in the first round of the finals. The following season Sydney FC failed to make the playoffs and Kossie was sacked.
Kosmina’s coaching history is largely one of missing the finals, and when he gets his team into the playoffs they are usually humiliated by lower-ranked teams.
Two games don’t make a season, but the transformation that has come with a change of coach has been astounding at United. Whether this change is the new coach’s honeymoon period or the start of a successful era under Kosmina may well be defined in the next month.
The Reds play Brisbane at Hindmarsh and have three tough road trips against the Heart, Victory, and Central Coast. A top-six finish and a strong ACL performance would surely see Kosmina’s caretaker status upgraded to a full time return to United.
Kosmina still has a lot to prove, he has unfinished business, and this will be his last chance. He will always be uncompromising and blunt, but surely with time outside of the game and in the media his days of strangling opposition players are over.
The A-League world seems to be obsessed with Kosmina resurrecting Adelaide United, but Adelaide United could be Kossie’s redeemer. He has one last chance to put behind him over 15 years of failed campaigns, playoff slaughters, and a series of on- and off-field brain snaps, and become the manager he should be remembered as. His time is now.