The Offseason Gets Underway In Australia
The Hyundai A-League 2017/18 campaign ended with the crowning of Melbourne Victory as A-League Champions. With that out of the way, we now enter the offseason and you know what that means… transfers! Managerial merry-go-round!
The journey to the Grand Finals begins in earnest. Already there are some big stories taking place down under.
POPOVIC JOINS PERTH GLORY
Perth Glory have pulled off a coup as they name Tony Popovic as their new head coach on a three-year contract. Popovic is best known for his time at Western Sydney Wanderers, whom he joined as their inaugural coach in 2012.
His achievements at the club included an A-League Premiership in their debut season and three Grand Final appearances. Popovic built on domestic success by leading the red-and-blacks to the Asian Champions League crown in 2014. It was the first time an Australian side had ever won the continental competition and was named the AFC Coach of the Year in recognition of this achievements.
Owner and Chairman Tony Sage paid tribute to the former Socceroo.
“Tony was our number one target from day one,” he said, “and we beat off some stiff competition in order to bring him here. His resume, reputation and pedigree are hugely impressive, as is his vision for the future of Perth Glory.”
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS BRING IN MIKE MULVEY
Central Coast Mariners have also named a new head coach with A-League Championship winner Mike Mulvey signing a two-year deal.
The Englishman from the great footballing city of Manchester is a previous Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year for his exploits during 2013/14 with Brisbane Roar, who were both Champions and Premiers that season.
“I couldn’t be more delighted to be returning to Australia and to embrace the opportunity that exists here on the Central Coast,” Mulvey said. “The Mariners are a club with a rich history and genuine tradition. During the first decade, they demanded success and developed some wonderful players. My task in the coming years is very clear – I want to restore that culture of ambition and promote the hungriest young talent in the country.”
Also part of the backroom team is former captain Nick Montgomery as an assistant coach. Montgomery played five seasons for the club including that banner year in 2013/14. He joins Ray Junna as one of two assistants to Mulvey.
MATT SIMON RETURNS TO THE MARINERS
Sticking with the Central Coast, after three seasons with Sydney FC, Matt Simon has returned to the Mariners.
Simon is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and has penned a two-year contract with the club.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Sydney but it’s great now that I’ve been given this opportunity to come back to the Mariners where it all started, so I am really looking forward to being a part of Mike’s plans for the club and I can’t wait to get stuck in,” Simon said. “This is my hometown, all of my family are on the Central Coast, so that’s something that really excites me – I am really looking forward to the next couple of years ahead.”
I’m sure that the Mariners’ fans can’t wait to see Matty creating some havoc. Maybe putting in some of his customary crushing late tackles, straight out of the Matty Simon crushing late tackle textbook.
FORMER CITY SKIPPER HEADS TO ADELAIDE
Danish centre-back Michael Jakobsen has signed a two-year contract with Adelaide United.
After two seasons with Melbourne City, the Dane heads across to join Marco Kurz’s side. He previously spent time in his career not only in the A-League but in Holland, Spain and his native Denmark.
“I’m excited because it’s a new chapter of my career and I’m really looking forward to getting started,” Jakobsen said. “I’ve heard only positive things about Adelaide United, so that was a big part of my decision.”
Considering the international experience that Jakobsen brings alongside his leadership ability, this is some signing for Adelaide United.