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Stajcic Thrown a Lifeline by Mariners


Alen Stajcic will make his return to football management with the Central Coast Mariners after being given the job until the end of the season. The 45-year-old will step into the men’s game for the first time in his career, having enjoyed a successful career managing in the women’s game.

It was Stajcic’s last assignment and subsequent sacking in women’s football that, by his own admission, left his ‘career in tatters’, after he was let go from his position as head coach of the Australian women’s national soccer team.

It was an acrimonious falling out with the FFA with the main accusation aimed at Stajcic being that he had built a toxic culture in the Matildas setup. Those are particularly damning findings and arguably the worst a head coach can have levied against them, as any potential suitors looking to hire in the future will steer clear of an individual with that type of reference, given a toxic change room can have a catastrophic effect on a team.

Being announced as Central Coast Mariners caretaker coach comes at a good time for Stajcic and backs up his version of events that actually, his sacking was nothing more than a witch hunt against him.

The job that needs doing at Mariners is a sizeable one, with the side languishing at the very bottom of the A-League. The club seems to be in crisis with only seven points from 21 games and this comes on the back of finishing last during the 2017/2018 campaign – on that occasion, the Mariners only managed to rack up 20 points. You can go back even further to the 2016/2017 season and the reading doesn’t get any better, as they finished eighth with just 23 points.

This is without a doubt a club that needs turning around and Stajcic’s appointment could ignite an end-of-season charge that sees him get the job on a full-time basis. With six games of the season left, there is an outside chance that the Mariners won’t finish bottom but you wouldn’t know it looking at the A-League football betting, as they are at 1/66 to be bottom of the pile at the end. Brisbane Roar, who are only seven points ahead, are the only other team that could finish last and Stajcic’s immediate focus will be trying to catch them.

The Mariners board say that Stajcic will be asked to bring stability and the club together but with only half a dozen fixtures left, you’d be forced to admit that if he has any chance of getting the job permanently, the team will have to perform exceptionally between now and the end of the season. 

This time next year the Mariners will be hoping that talk of finishing last is a thing of the past. Whether it be Alen Stajcic or anyone else, the club is crying out for a hero to bring about better days. For Stajcic, he has been painted as a villain by the FFA and arrives at a club that is in the midst of their own storm. The plot is set, and it’s now up to him to use the lifeline thrown to him.

About the author

avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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