Five great A-League coaching controversies

The war of words that erupted between John van't Schip (Melbourne City) and John Aloisi (Brisbane Roar) is just the latest drama involving high-profile coaches who live on the edge in our national competition.

A-League Rd 8 - Victory v Adelaide

Kevin Muscat of the Victory clashes with John Kosmina Source: Getty Images

1. John Kosmina comes to grips with Kevin Muscat

If there were an A-League Hall of Fame for classic confrontations involving at least one coach, this would be the inaugural inductee.

A game between the Kosmina-coached Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory early in the 2006-07 season erupted when the ball ran off the pitch and Victory defender Muscat chased after it.

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Kosmina grabbed the ball as it ran under his seat at the same time as Muscat bumped into him, sending "Kossie" flying.



But Kosmina wasn't going to take it lying down. He quickly got to his feet and grabbed Muscat around the throat as referee Matthew Breeze intervened along with other coaching staff and players to stop things from going completely crazy.

Muscat was yellow-carded and Kosmina was banished to the grandstand.

"I don't like being assaulted," Kosmina said later. "I just went to pick the ball up, it was on the ground in front of me. What am I going to do?"

He and Muscat subsequently made up.

2. Frank Farina sacked by Roar after drink-driving charge

The club cut the former Socceroo coach loose after he was charged with drink-driving on the way to a Saturday morning training session in October, 2009.

"I acknowledge Frank's contribution to the club, but we cannot excuse or condone his behaviour off the field," said Roar chairman Chris Bombolas.

There had been a gradual breakdown in relations between Farina and the club ahead of that and the coach took Roar to court over his sacking.

3. Ian Crook resigns after just six games in charge

A-League head coaching jobs are so hard to come by - there are only 10 in the whole country - that when most people get one they tend to hang on for dear life.

So it takes a big man to admit that sort of job is not for him.



Crook resigned as Sydney FC coach in November, 2012, saying: "I love coaching and I love this club, but the head coach role is just not for me.

"I always said that if the role started to affect me personally or my family or my ability to sleep at night I would make a change and that was happening so I wanted to do the right thing by the club."

4. Aurelio Vidmar declares Adelaide a "pissant town"

After Adelaide had gone down 4-0 to Victory in the second leg of a major semi-final in 2008-09, for a 6-0 loss on aggregate, United coach Vidmar cut loose with a scathing assessment of what he saw as issues holding his club back.

"It's a disgrace," Vidmar said of the result. "We owe the world an apology, a performance like that was a disgrace. Politics, that's what I put it down to. There's too many people in this club with hidden agendas. That's the problem.

"That 4-0 result tonight was politics, nothing else. Whether you're involved directly or indirectly you have an effect. It has an effect on everyone. Because of a pissant town this club will never win anything, until you get rid of that crap.



"Things change very quickly. Someone's not happy with something, they'll do anything they can to fracture it. Jealously, whatever it is, whether it's ego, it smacks of all that at our club at this time. It's the underlying things around the club. I'm not going to name names.

"I want to be the coach, yes, to work in a happy environment. You can't tell me that they've forgotten to play football overnight. There's a lot of shit in your mind. You can't play football, you can't do anything."

5. Phil Stubbins and David Carney (and Nathan Tinkler)

Former Socceroo Carney, now at Sydney FC, refused to accept his sacking at Newcastle Jets in the 2014-15 season after being part of a player revolt against coach Stubbins, who had the backing of club owner Tinkler.

The impressively stubborn Carney outlasted both Stubbins and Tinkler and returned to the Newcastle playing roster under new coach Scott Miller the following season.

Carney subsequently said in an interview that the players weren't fit under Stubbins because "training was walking pace".

Stubbins defended himself and said he had a "spring in my step and a smile on my face" after returning to South Australia to work on football programs at colleges.


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4 min read
Published 11 December 2016 at 8:30pm
By Greg Prichard