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Coaching For Beginners

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After a drawn-out saga that made the FA’s appointment of Roy Hodgson seem like a knee-jerk reaction, Sydney FC have finally got their man.

Actually, technically speaking, the new Western Sydney franchise have got Sydney FC’s man. And the Central Coast Mariners have got Sydney FC’s man before that. In fact, it might be better to simply say that Sydney FC have finally got “A” man, following their appointment of third-choice candidate Ian Crook to the head coach’s role.

But while the promotion of the club’s youth team coach to the top job has left a lot of fans scratching their heads (especially those who aren’t familiar with Norwich’s Bayern-conquering team of the early 90s), the appointment of the man they really wanted (after Graham Arnold) at Western Sydney, has been met with genuine interest. It seems Tony Popovic has ditched a decent job as Crystal Palace first team coach to take charge of a club with no history and no players.

”It’s a great challenge but one I know I can handle and I look forward to exciting times ahead,” he blathered at a press conference. ”It’s an area with a rich football history, there’s a lot of participants – young and old – that have been crying out for a team out in the west. I’m sure they’ll support it and I’m sure we can produce the type of football they’ll be proud to follow.”

Popovic wouldn’t be drawn on his preferred football philosophy or style, but said he could assemble a competitive team despite not having a single player on his books and having less than five months before kick-off.

”That’s obviously something that we have to look into closely as we are short of time,” he said. ”But we’re confident we can get a good team, a competitive team from the outset, one that will be well prepared.”

In other words, although his side will be largely made up of A-League rejects, he expects them to beat the clubs they weren’t good enough for. Good luck with that Tony.

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