Amongst all the headline-grabbing moments in football this week a new record slipped by almost unnoticed.
On Saturday morning, Tom Sermanni, set the new mark for the briefest coaching appointment in A-League history. The Matildas boss was named as Head Coach of Gold Coast United for less than 24 hours.
Of course I jest, as the situation was a continuation of the almost farcical events of the past week, which held football fans spellbound.
But Tom Sermanni coaching in the A-League is not such a bad shout.
Most may recognise him as the coach that led the Australian Women’s National Team to the country’s first piece of silverware in Asia (when the Matildas lifted the Asian Cup in 2010), but even before that, Sermanni’s coaching CV shows quality experience extending back some 17 years.
He has had time in charge of Sydney Olympic and Canberra Cosmos in the old national league and was named one of the top three coaches in the United States Women’s Professional Soccer League during his time with San Jose CyberRays and New York Power.
Importantly he has experience in Asia as part of the coaching staff of Japanese club side Sanfrecce Hiroshima (with Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic in the team) and in Malaysia with Sarawak.
Sermanni also strongly supports youth development. He coached Australia’s youngest ever ‘senior’ national team to a repeat quarter-final appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, in Germany in 2011
(Sermanni’s third appearance). His faith was repaid when then 16-year-old, Caitlin Foord, was named FIFA Young player of the tournament.
The man often found with a cup of tea and a crossword in hand, has forged a strong reputation through his calm and mild manner. Mutual respect underpins his relationship with the players he manages.
The affable Scot has travelled the world in his job, but likely never travelled so far in one day as he did on Friday night.
The Palmer-drama surrounding Gold Coast United affected everyone in the Australian football community. As FFA scrambled to mount a defence against Clive Palmer’s broadsides, the Matildas Head Coach was on his way up north for a pre-planned holiday.
Sermanni left Sydney in the early hours of Friday morning and had driven past the Gold Coast, through Brisbane and was in fact, just south of Bundaberg when he received the call that meant a return to Brisbane.
With the decision handed down from the Queensland Supreme Court, Sermanni’s end destination had abruptly shifted from Mackay to Wellington.
The SOS call from Head Office had come just the day before, asking if he would assume the caretaker role for Gold Coast United should the club need someone from the FFA side of the fence to see the team through to the end of the season.
As we now know, Mike Mulvey managed to extricate himself from his Gold Coast contract in time to board the plane to New Zealand and in Sermanni’s opinion, justice was served.
“It was not going to be an ideal situation for anyone and my role would purely have been to see the club through to the end of the season, making sure that the competition was completed in a fair and balanced manner.
Mike Mulvey has done a great job with the Gold Coast lads and he should be man in charge.”
As for any disappointment that his return to club football was so shortlived? “ Sermanni laughs “ I’d certainly not sat around thinking this is my opportunity to get a foot in the door with the A-League”.
With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, he adds “I wonder though, if I can add it to my CV”?