A changing Victory philosophy

The appointment of Mehmet Durakovic as Melbourne Victory coach after a three-month global search means much more than just a new face in an old chair.

The appointment of Mehmet Durakovic as Melbourne Victory coach after a three-month global search means much more than just a new face in an old chair.

Durakovic had impressed in his time as a caretaker, guiding Melbourne Victory to one wins and three draws in five matches in the AFC Champions League, but the decision to give him the role full time was as much about the philosophy he brings as the runs he had put on the board.

It was the same story with the decision to revamp the structure of the coaching department to create a football director role which has been filled by Durakovic’s former Socceroos and South Melbourne team-mate Francis Awaritefe.

“Our aim is to develop a football philosophy and work towards a style, which the football department can generate and we can establish the youth pathways,” Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro said.

“We need a style of football where we all sing from the same sheet. There will be a lot of work and a lot of effort go into that. That’s why we are confident in the people we have to put that together.”

The chairman said Durakovic’s qualifications for the role were beyond dispute and he is the right fit for a club in a period of remarkable transition having changed their coach, director of football, chairman, CEO and captain in the past six months.

“We’re very confident in Mehmet’s message and relationship and the respect that he has around the entire organisation,” he said.

“Mehmet has spent over 25 years in different parts of the game. He was an accomplished player with over 60 caps, and played under some of the great coaches, like Terry Venables and the great (Ferenc) Puskas.”

“Those things added to an important part of what we understand about Mehmet.”

The coach is adamant that he will continue down the path he went down during the AFC Champions League, where he put a greater emphasis on possession and passing.

“I have got my own brand and my own philosophy and we, the football department, have put together a brand we like to play. That’s tactically very well organised and playing that short, sharp passing game that I love to. The style that Barcelona and Arsenal play,” he said.

“We’ve done that through the ACL campaign and I’d like to implement that during the pre-season and hopefully that can get us where we want to go by the end of the year.”

Similarly, Awaritefe believes his new role is about shaping a new philosophy for the club moving into the future, one based on successful European clubs

“I have a vision in terms of how I think the game should be played. It’s not just about winning. It’s about developing a unique style, a football identity. That’s something the board and this club believe in,” the former NSL Golden Boot winner said.

“It’s a very successful environment and what we aim to do is take that to another level.”

Among Awaritefe’s plans is the establishment of a football academy which will help the Victory develop and retain the best young talent.

“We want to make this club the club of choice for the most talented player in Australia,” he said.

But the new football director said that a transition in the club philosophy will take considerable time and energy to implement.

“It requires patience and requires time. We’ve seen some great clubs around the world, Barcelona for example, they have a particular philosophy, and that philosophy has taken 30 years to produce the generation that we are seeing today,” he said.

“This is not something that will happen over the next two years, it will take a time to develop this and bring this up to the level we are talking about.”