Popovic The Question

May 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Let us state for the record that we are fans of Tony Popovic and the way that he has conducted himself throughout his career and as a coach.

In fact we were delighted to see him given an opportunity as an assistant coach at Crystal Palace in England, a club at which he had played. This was not only good for him but also good for Australia and future Australian coaches with ambition.

He was the only Australian holding down a coaching position in the United Kingdom. For Australian coaches to improve and if we are to see an Australian one day again lead Australia on the International stage we need more coaches plying their trade in the top leagues of the world. Popovic’s appointment at Crystal Palace gave many hope.

Several players who had successful careers in England and Scotland have opted to return, rather than get on the coaching merry-go-round in these two highly demanding countries. Many will tell you it was time to come home, and that is understandable. Some may have opted for the slightly more secure prospect of a coaching role in Australia, a country where the league is not really conducive to sacking a coach, when the sixth placed team can make the finals.

Tony Popovic is an intelligent man, and he would have thought long and hard before he resigned his position at Crystal Palace to return home.

You cannot blame him for deciding to return and take on the new West Sydney side. He has been offered a five-year deal, longer than any other coach has in the Hyundai A League. With the team being cobbled together at the last minute for next season, no one is expecting miracles, so he effectively has two seasons in which to make his team competitive; only in that second season will the pressure start to mount along with the expectations.

Also having been brought back by the FFA rather than a Franchisee, he puts himself in the box seat for a national team role if things don’t work out, as after all, he has helped them out and given them a marketable name on which to start building a squad.

It is probably a great decision for Tony Popovic and his family, but one cannot help asking the question has he returned too early in terms of beating a path for Australian coaches to be given a chance in Europe?

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