Sydney FC have moved quickly following yesterday’s sacking of tSeve Corrica, replacing him with former Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay.
Talay was a player in Sydney’s inaugural season and was part of the squad that won the first ever A-League title in 2006, and had been an assistant at the club before taking the job in New Zealand.
He excelled with the Nix, guiding them through their Covid-enforced exile in Wollongong and departing on his own terms at the end of last season with the best winning percentage in the history of the club as well as finals football in two of his three years in charge.
He had been touted for a return to Sydney FC as soon as Corica appeared to be under pressure and his appointment comes as no surprise.
“I’m very happy to be coming back to Sydney FC for a third time, and I can’t wait to start working with the players tomorrow,” he said.
“I have won a Championship as a player and as an assistant coach here, and now I want to do it as Head Coach.
“This is Australia’s most successful club, and it matches my own expectations of challenging for league titles every season.
“We have a high-quality group of international calibre players, as well as some extremely talented young players, and I’m excited to see what we can produce.”
Corica was sacked after just three games of the A-League season following the club’s worst ever start to a campaign.
He was the second coach to fall already this year, with Melbourne City – who defeated Sydney 2-0 on Friday night – dispensing with Rado Vidosic last week.
The Sky Blues released a statement confirming his departure early on Tuesday morning, a shock move given that the his 19-year stay with the club as both a player and manager, as well as an Australia Cup win just three weeks ago.
Pressure had begun to mount given Sydney’s awful start, but few thought the axe to fall so quickly.
With a tough away game to Adelaide followed by the derby against Western Sydney, the expectation had been that Corica would be judged on those fixtures at the very least, but instead, the club has acted swiftly.
Since defeating Brisbane Roar 3-1 to pick up the Australia Cup, the club have lost 2-0 to Melbourne Victory, 3-0 to the Roar and 2-0 to City.
They currently sit bottom of the A-League table without a single goal to their name, and indeed, did not register a shot on target against City last Friday night.
“The Sydney FC Board has made the decision to move in a new direction,” said chairman Scott Barlow in a statement.
“Steve is a legend of our club and has made an incredible contribution as both a player and coach over our 19-year history.
“He is a true gentleman who has always put Sydney FC first and I would like to personally thank him for all he has done.”
Former Socceroo Corica was with the club from its foundation in 2005 and captained them before taking over from current Australia boss Graham Arnold in 2018 and leading the club to back-to-back Premiership in 2019 and 2020.
“It is very difficult to depart Sydney FC after being here for such a long time but I leave with unbelievable memories,” he said.
“There are so many people to thank but most of all I would like to thank all my amazing staff and players as well as the Sydney FC Members and fans.
“I could never have imagined that when I set foot into this brand, new club in 2005, I would go on to spend the next 19 years of my life here. I will always look back on my time with Sydney FC with incredible fondness.”