In the lead up to season 2012/13, we're looking at the club coaches, their history, their challenges and what they have to do to make this season a success.
Ange Postecoglou, Melbourne Victory
How Victory fans must have been rubbing their hands when Ange Postecoglou’s return to Melbourne was announced. Forget Flores or even Del Piero – Postecoglou’s switch could be the defining transfer of season 2012/13.
After achieving so much in his two years with Brisbane Roar, there is a great deal of expectation of Postecoglou.
It wasn’t just the trophies he won; it was the way he won them. After a slow start at Suncorp he turned the Roar into the kind of juggernaut few thought could ever exist in the Hyundai A-League.
Now he’s taken over the wheel at another one, albeit one that’s lost its way slightly.
More often than not, Victory have set the standard, on and off the pitch, since the A-League began, which only made the mistakes and confusion from last season that much harder to take for the club’s faithful.
If Postecoglou can institute the same technical, possession-based football, he has all the tools at Victory to achieve the same level of success as he did in Brisbane. And the rest of A-League better watch out.
History: From his title-winning days as a player and coach with South Melbourne, to a less successful stint with the Qantas Young Socceroos, to the record-breaking feats of the Roar, Postecoglou has shown that he can learn and develop, and knows how to successfully pass that education onto his players.
Victory have a history of success in the A-League and one bad season doesn’t change that, or dissipate the club consistently impressive supporter base. You have to admit it – this looks like a match made in heaven.
Challenges: Postecoglou’s biggest challenge is probably meeting expectations; those of the Victory supporters who crave more silverware, and those of the wider football public, who want to see if he can replicate or better his Roar achievements.
There is also the small matter of the other clubs – Postecoglou’s success at Victory is far from decided. By setting the bar so high, all the other clubs have rushed to match it, raising playing and coaching standards across the league.
All the clubs have strengthened during the off-season, adapting their styles and being picky about their marquees and imports. Marcos Flores isn’t as famous as Alessandro Del Piero but he could be more effective week in, week out.
Target Position: Finals is a minimum but most are tipping a top-two finish, such is the reputation of Postecoglou. But will he be able to get Victory back up there in such a short space of time?
Final Word: Sydney FC’s capture of Del Piero doesn’t guarantee success for the Sky Blues and Victory fans may begrudge the attention their rivals have won, but it might just deflect some of the focus of Victory while Postecoglou has time to settle in.
A-League fans now know what can be achieved if domestic players receive the right training and expect their club won’t be left behind.
The A-League has always been competitive but, thanks to Postecoglou, it might just be better than ever. And At the end of the season, Victory should be challenging for the title.