Unlucky Luciano becomes a victim of his dedication

Jilted assistant trainer Luciano Trani has emerged from the Newcastle Jets' double sacking saga as the villain in the piece, the master manipulator who would back-stab his head coach to pursue his own agenda.

Luciano Trani

Luciano Trani has been wrongly vilified Source: Newcastle Jets

At the end of yet another scene in the never-ending soap opera surrounding the once-proud Newcastle club, Trani was sacked a day after Scott Miller was relieved of his job.

The simmering feud between the two coaches who have a strong personality came to a head in the recent tour of China when they clashed over training procedures.

Miller joined the team a day later and blamed Trani for a training overload three hours after they touched down in China that could have led to a calf injury to Finnish striker Alexsandr Kokko in the team's first match against Liaoning.

The Jets got rid of Miller due to "differences within the club" and later dismissed Trani "to give the club's new head coach the opportunity to appoint his own assistant".

But the general view within the football family is that Trani was sacked so as to prevent another farcical situation at the crisis-torn club.

Reports have emerged that the Jets' playing squad were looking at boycotting Trani's training session the day after Miller was sacked because it is understood that they were keen to express their support for Fulham's former assistant coach.

The fact that the Jets did not deny such reports and widespread suggestions in the media that Miller did not have the full backing of Trani added weight to the theory that Trani suddenly had become unwanted at the club and that the players had got their way.

The upshot from the Jets' week from hell is that Trani, whom many cognoscenti regard as a highly respected figure, is jobless and has a battle on his hands to convince people that he would be a valuable addition to any club's coaching staff.

An A-League club senior official who would not be named said it is clear "the club bowed to player pressure" while a leading agent said "Trani was punished because he tried to take the players away from their comfort zone".

An Australia player said he had "a lot of time for Luc and I hope the full story comes out".

Three prominent Australian footballers who worked with Trani and who currently play abroad came out in full support of the demonised coach.

Former Brisbane Roar defender and captain Matt Smith, ex-Wellington Phoenix, Adelaide United and Australia midfielder Jon McKain and Erik Paartalu, who played for Brisbane and Melbourne City, all said Trani had made them better players.
"I worked with Luc during our time at Brisbane Roar when he was assistant coach," Smith, who plays for Bangkok Glass in Thailand, said.

"My relationship with him as a person was great. He was always humble and good with me and the rest of the players.

"As a coach, he is very passionate and knowledgable about football. Working hard is a given but he was always well prepared.

"I once asked him in casual conversation to give me three things I could do to improve my match play. He came back a few days later and gave me three honest, logical and achievable improvements to my game which I still implement today. I guess you could say small one per cent things but specific to my game. This shows his attention to detail."

McKain, who plays for Kelantan in Malaysia, was equally effusive in his praise for his ex-mentor.

"I worked with Luciano at Wellington and Adelaide," McKain said.

"Luc was very hard working, intense and was always looking to improve the team and individual players.

"He could talk football 24/7 and was very passionate about it.

"It is more than just a job for him. I really enjoyed learning under him."

Paartalu, who is on the books of Jeonbuk Motors in the Korea Republic, expressed similar sentiments.

"Luc is a great guy who would always take the time to help anybody," Paartalu said.

"Aside from being a very switched-on coach there were many times when I needed to understand things further and he wouldn't hesitate in having a coffee with me outside of football hours and genuinely cared about the game of football.

"He is a guy whose love of football is his whole life and then some, constantly thinking about the team or the game itself to try and help players get better.

"I am grateful for Luc and all of his help, coaching and extra sessions when I asked for help.

"I don't know the full story about the Jets but like Melbourne City, they have lost a massive attribute to the club."

It is blatantly obvious from talking to people that Trani is seen as a competent coach who knows what he's doing and who works his socks off to improve the general standard of our football.

So let's not destroy Trani because Australian football would be the biggest loser in this sorry shemozzle.

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5 min read
Published 11 September 2016 at 10:50am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS