From a final-winning goal as a player to a trophy-winning assistant coach and now onto head coach, Steve Corica’s progression with Sydney FC is almost worthy of a fairy tale.
But maybe Corica’s tenure with Sydney as head coach should come to an end.
Almost no coach in the A-League would be able to match the two last seasons Graham Arnold had with the Sky Blues.
Corica came in with mixed expectations from the fans and made an early mark with new signings Siem de Jong, Jop van der Linden, Daniel De Silva, Trent Buhagiar and Adam le Fondre.
But after failing to win the FFA Cup and Buhagiar falling injured with a season-ending ACL in training, Corica’s plans fell to pieces.
Without any real pace in the side after Buhagiar’s injury, Sydney was brought back down to earth by Wellington and Victory.
For the rest of the season up until now, Sydney FC has been playing a predictable and poor quality brand of football.
Even though Sydney stand in second place in the league it feels like the most insecure second place in football.
For the most part Corica’s signings have failed to live up to expectations.
Buhagiar was ruled out before the season even started, Van der Linden contributed poor performances then an injury, and De Jong – when on the field – has played tentatively like someone who has often been injured.
De Silva started out promisingly then seemed to get worse as the season progressed, and don’t even get me started on the on-loan pair Anthony Caceres and Reza Ghoochannejhad, who are yet to hit their stride.
When the signing of Caceres was announced, he was expected to add great squad depth but never become a regular starter.
However, there have been three young bright sparks this season: crowd favorite Luke Ivanovic, midfielder Cameron ‘fence destroyer’ Devlin and defender Jacob Tratt.
All three have all performed well when given the opportunity but have been deprived of anything more than a cameo appearance.
Surely those three are better options than Caceres and Brosque.
Age and experience are needed to some extent but young, fresh and eager faces are necessary to sustain a football team and all three have extraordinary talent for A-League players.
The current 4-4-2 system that Corica is playing does not get the best out of his key players.
There is no speed on the wings if you can even say Sydney FC have a wing.
Ninkovic being out wide is not using him in a large amount of crucial play. Le Fondre is often drifting too wide and too deep. He needs to be right up the centre if he wants to replicate his form of the beginning of the season.
One aspect that Sydney lack from last year is a ball-playing centre half who can distribute the ball well and even take it forward on their own legs. Jordy Buijs played this perfectly and was a key part of Sydney FC’s success.
Looking forward to next season, massive changes are needed if Corica is to stay.
With Aaron Calver, Siem de Jong, Josh Brillante and Anthony Caceres already confirmed to be departing the club, it’s time for big formation and personnel changes.
Sydney need a solid defensive midfielder marquee like Mile Jedinak with a marquee spot opening, a ball-playing centre half to fill the shoes of Bujis and a quick winger.
Above all, Sydney’s young prodigies need to be given opportunities to start, because without them Sydney FC is a boring, predictable team to watch.
Or, on the other hand, perhaps the most important change needed for Sydney FC this off-season is for Corica to be replaced with a quality manager.
Should Corica stay or go?
Either way, change has to come.