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AFL dark horse emerges in race for Victory manager

Roar Guru
17th March, 2011
58
2554 Reads

Melbourne’s football community is abuzz with rumours. Who will replace Ernie Merrick? Melbourne Victory and their new chairman, Anthony Di Pietro, have embarked on a local and global search to find his successor.

In the meantime, a weary, cynical supporter base, ground down by the stale methods of old, patiently waits for a new managerial messiah.

The whole notion of the search is predicated on Victory not being able to tempt Ange Postecoglou away from the FFA controlled Brisbane Roar.

It’s an interesting situation.

The Roar will be more attractive to potential investors with Ange at the helm. According to football gossips, Victory are ready to offer Postecoglou a lucrative four-year deal worth two million dollars.

If Ange does choose to stay with Brisbane, then who will it be?

A big club like Victory is crying out for a stylish manager. Six years of watching Ernie in a tracksuit, the team ended up playing like he dressed – no style or imagination.

Enter Franz Straka, waving his beige, stripy jacket. The jacket captured the fashion zeitgeist in Townsville. Problem is, Franz, I doubt Melbourne Victory’s fashionista set will be as impressed. I suggest you head down to Calibre for a fit out before the interview.

When it does come to style, there can only be one candidate. Sartorially, standing head and shoulders above the rest of the field is the best dressed man in Australian football, Eddie Krncevic. The style icon is currently sashaying down the sideline in the VPL with South Melbourne. Victory will be faced with two major issues when it comes appointing him.

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Firstly, Eddie flat out refusing to wear the name of a cleaning supplies company (and urinal manufacturer) on his Armani shirt collar. Secondly, the players being more interested in following Eddie’s fashion and grooming tips, rather than his coaching tips.

This leads us to the ‘find the obscure manager from Eastern Europe solution’. Bosko Gjurovski’s name has hit the rumour mill. Now, there’s a name that evokes Balkan football sophistication.

Gjurovski, the current assistant manager at Nagoya Grampus Eight, just has to turn up to win the championship while we spend the season working out how to pronounce his name. It worked with Vitezslav Lavicka.

However, the last time Bosko was manager, he only lasted TWO games into the 2007-08 season with Red Star Belgrade after a 2-1 away loss to minnows Levadia Tallinn of Estonia in UCL qualification.

The team did do enough to progress to the next round on the away goals rule, but it was not enough to save Bosko from walking the plank. Losing to a team worth 10 times less than yours can do that to you.

As you can see, the search for a manager is a treacherous business. Success is not guaranteed. This can call for a brave, radical, and innovative solution.

Step forward, Mick Malthouse.

The AFL coach has successfully applied modern football theory to Australian Rules football. Last July he claimed, “The manipulation of space and an increased emphasis on possession – hallmarks of top-flight soccer – were now crucial aspects of the AFL game.” He demonstrated this to spectacular effect in winning the AFL premiership last season.

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The Collingwood method is very similar to Ange’s method at the Brisbane Roar. Coming out of defence, Collingwood spread the ball wide to the boundary lines as opposed to the old-fashioned AFL method to “bang it down the middle”.

When the ball is in their forward line they press the opposition to turn the ball over, much like the Brisbane Roar and Barcelona. Michael Di Fabrizio wrote on The Roar last week: “In 2010, the Pies generated 30.5 turnovers in their forward half per game (5.2 more than any other team). They also scored a whopping 43.8 points from these turnovers (11.8 more than any other team).”

In what is a very curious state of affairs, Malthouse is contractually obligated to handover the coaching job at Collingwood to Nathan Buckley at the end of the 2011 AFL season; regardless, if he wins successive premierships.

Collingwood President, Eddie McGuire, has allegedly threatened legal action if Malthouse does not take up a director of coaching role and opts to coach at another AFL club.

Mick, here is your legal loophole. Win another flag for Collingwood and then hop over to the A-League and join the Victory.

Getting those coaching badges will be a doddle. Having climbed the AFL summit of Mount Kosciuszko, let’s see how far you can climb up football’s Mt Everest.

Yes, at 57, time is against you.

But, then again, Sir Alex Ferguson is a sprightly 69. You once said that you learned more in 48 hours with Fergie than watching six months worth of AFL tapes. Just book another session with the great man. You’ll be alright.

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Whoever does get the managerial gig at Melbourne Victory might be thankful that he won’t have to address a team led by the retired captain, Kevin Muscat. Otherwise, his first day on the job could have gone something like this.

Enjoy.

Art Sapphire is the pseudonym for Athas Zafiris and he can be found on twitter.