VPL coaches react to recent sackings

After just six round of the Victorian Premier League, we’ve seen already the departures of three senior coaches, with Richmond parting ways with Jean-Marc Imbert, Oakleigh Cannons saying goodbye to Bill Theodoropoulos and Green Gully sacking Dean Hennessey.

MFootball spoke with a select group of current VPL managers this week to try and get a coach’s perspective on the recent sackings.

League leader Northcote City’s head coach Goran Lozanovski:

“I suppose it’s difficult to know what’s going on at these clubs, but I suppose expectations are always high at these clubs. It is a result driven industry we are in and I suppose if the clubs feel like results are going your way because of being unlucky or it’s just not working out with the group, then I suppose they make decisions to kind of change it up a bit. You know – three, four, five, six week – it’s still early doors as far as I’m concerned. I think the manager should deserve until at least mid season. It’s disapointing to see Dean Hennessey go, and obviously the others, but it’s a part of the industry we’re in, it happens to coaches, and it’s happened to me in the past before.”

Southern Stars head coach Zaya Younan:

“Look, I have to give credit where credit is due with my club – they’ve been backing me 100%, even though our results aren’t as bad as Richmond’s. In the scope of things, when you look at Green Gully’s budget and you look at the professionalism that comes out of Green Gully, I would say there’s a very large difference between ourselves and Green Gully. I guess that’s why Dean Hennessey has been under immense pressure to get results and in the past, you’ve never see Green Gully there, at that level on the table. Yes, I think it’s harsh after six rounds but yes, I think they should be in a better position with everything they’ve got at their fingertips. So I’ve just got to look in my own backyard and say that my committe, my club has been fantastic in supporting me, they’re 100% behind me, they realise slow and steady wins the race. I do believe clubs should be a bit more patient because as you can see, a perfect example is Grant Brebner. Changing a coach is not going to change results automaticaly, regardless of what people are saying about “oh you know, they look a little bit better,” this, that or the other. Two losses in two games – it hasn’t changed in terms of points on the board.”

Newly promoted Port Melbourne’s coach Eric Vassiliadis:

“I can talk in general coaching terms, there’s no doubt it’s a cut-throat industry, and that’s going to vary from club to club.  But I think, in broad terms, and conceptually, to be given six weeks to try and put your stamp on  a team, in broad terms, isn’t enough, especially when you go to a new club that’s very ambitious. Dean’s proven that over the journey he’s a successul coach, based on both player management and results. I’m sure he’s dissapointed. Clearly, we’re all pretty commercial about these things, we know the way in which the world works but conceptually, I don’t think six is enough.”

Hume City’s Lou Acevski:

“Look, as a coach – and as a senior coach – before you start the job, you always know that it’s a cut-throat industry. At the same time, you take the job and you start coaching and unfortunatley, you’re always one day closer to getting sacked or resigning from that role. It’s not for the weak characters or someone that’s scared or is not capable of coping with opinions and all that from outside. Coaching – it’s a very tough gig. You’ve got to have a lot of self belief and confidence in your own ability, philsophies and ambitions, and you try to implement that. At times, I know a lot of coaches who have done that but unfortunatley, things haven’t worked out – be it (that) the players haven’t performed or just results go against your way. An example – I know Dean Hennessey very well and I know Deano is one of the hardest workers on and off the field, basically, in preperation for his team. He’s had a lot of success. I just believe – I watched a few games – that the players let him down this year, they didnt perform to their best ability but yeah, like I said before, it’s a cut-throat industry.”

Melbourne Knights head coach and Joe Marston medalist Andrew Marth:

“You know, so early in the season, I don’t think clubs give their managers enough time to realise their opponents and who they’ve got. It is very, very frustrating, but  unfortunatley these things have been happening for years and I don’t think it’ll every change unfortunately.”

John Anastasiadis, head coach of  Bentleigh Greens:

“I’d like to say a lot of things, but I’ll bite my tongue. We want to introduce this NPL into the league and the governance of the body and the governance of teams has got to be better. Stability is a major thing in football and it’s a proven fact that if you’ve got a stable club, you’ll be successful. I don’t like to talk about other people, so I won’t, but I believe our club has got that right because we know that our club, a lot of years ago, was unstable, sacking coaches left, right and centre, and with very limited success. Now, they’ve changed tact a bit, and hopefully the proof is in the pudding – that’s all I can say.”

About Donald Sutherland

Donald, the grandson of FFA Roll of Honour inductee Don Sutherland, is the co-founder and co-editor of MFootball and has a superior knowledge of the A-League having followed it since its inception in 2005.

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