It is incredible to hear fans around the country and especially in Perth clamouring for foreign coaches at their A League clubs, when you consider that out of the current crop in the A League only one made the finals series, Adelaide’s Rini Coolen. Obviously Ricki Herbert at the Wellington Phoenix is a New Zealander, but Ange Postecoglou at Brisbane Roar and Graham Arnold at the Central Coast Mariners who will contest the Grand Final this weekend are both Australian.
Miron Bleiberg whose Gold Coast United lots to the Mariners for a place in the final, is also Australian, and so too is Melbourne Victory’s Ernie Merrick; this may be hard for some readers to believe due to their accents but they most definitely are and have been for many years.
When you take into consideration that these coaches earn less than half what their foreign counterparts are being paid, one would have to question the wisdom in looking overseas.
If we want to advance our own coaching stocks by having the likes of Ante Milicic work with John van T’schip at Melbourne Heart, maybe we should look at having foreign assistant coaches rather than first team coaches, and reciprocal agreements with the countries they come from. In other words we give up and coming foreign coaches the opportunity of experience in our league and in the close season they give our coaches exposure in theirs.
Currently we are seeing an influx of Dutch coaches into Australia, but is this really benefitting our game. Sure, the Netherlands made the World Cup final in 2010, but when was the last time they won anything on the international stage, or their clubs challenged for honours in European competition? Maybe we are being suckered by reputation rather than results.
Well done to all of the Australian coaches mentioned for proving that success is not measured in dollars and bank balances.