Sport Football Changing places: the ruthless life of the football coach

Changing places: the ruthless life of the football coach

Shown the door: Gary van Egmond.
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Being an A-League coach may be one of the toughest jobs in Australian sport, with Gary van Egmond’s sacking by the Newcastle Jets the 10th coaching change since the start of last season. 

In comparison, there have been only a combined 10 coaching turnovers in the AFL and NRL between 34 clubs since the start of 2013 – with two forced by suspension.

The thirst for success in such a small league has led clubs to jump the gun – but the plague in football stretches beyond Australian borders.

Between the English Premier League, Serie A and La Liga, 68 per cent of clubs have replaced managers in their past two campaigns – the statistics is are far worse in the hotbed of England’s second tier, the Championship, where 20 of 24 sides have changed managers in that time.

The differences between the three codes show that football, even with less media scrutiny about on-field performances in Australia, can be a far harsher sport in the boardroom.

Van Egmond joins John Aloisi and Alistair Edwards as sackings since kick-off four months ago, adding to Ange Postecoglou and Graham Arnold, who left their respective clubs to pursue other jobs. Josep Gombau and Frank Farina have also all had their fair share of criticism.

However, things can change quickly. Josep Gombau’s start to the season was shaky, but Adelaide’s victories against Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers in recent weeks have seen the critics silenced.

Farina has also had his fare share of critics, especially on social media, but a turnaround in Sydney’s season saw them disappear before they  resurfaced with the current five game winless streak.

Van Egmond was sacked early on Monday morning after the Jets suffered a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Heart, snapping a 19 game winless streak for the southern club.

In a club statement, Jets CEO Robbie Middleby cited the club’s failure to make the finals in the past three years. Yet the Jets remain outside the top 6 by a mere point, proving that the football is a tough business.

Newcastle Jets also confirmed former Socceroo Clayton Zane will become interim head coach, while also suggesting van Egmond may remain at the club as a technical director of their Emerging Jets program.