Monday 20 December 2004
Hyundai A-League club Melbourne Victory has announced VIS Head Coach, Ernie Merrick, as its inaugural coach.
Merrick outlasted a stellar field of candidates, including former Socceroos Dave Mitchell and Eddie Krncevic, Championship-winning coaches Nick Theodorakopoulos and Gary Phillips, and former Glasgow Rangers and Blackburn legend Stuart Munro.
Victory General Manager, Tony Ising, said that the quality of the applicants who missed out reflects Merrick’s true calibre.
“Melbourne Victory has conducted an exhaustive selection process designed to find the very best coach possible. We think any one of the coaches we interviewed could have done a great job, but Ernie represents the very best opportunity for Melbourne Victory to pursue our philosophy of New Football,” Ising said.
Football Operations Manager, Gary Cole, considers Merrick to be among the best qualified coaches in the country.
“Ernie’s been in one of the country’s plumbest jobs at the VIS for a dozen years now. But in order to maintain that position he’s had to keep pace with the latest coaching innovations from all over the world. There really is no better student of the game, nor is there anyone as well credentialed as Ernie Merrick,” Cole explained.
The task now falls to Merrick and Cole to build a team to challenge for the inaugural Hyundai A-League title, as well as to qualify for the FIFIA World Club Championships in January 2005. A task made all the easier, according to Cole, with Merrick in charge.
“With both of us on the case, we honestly believe we’ll be able to put together a marquee team made up of a mix of established players and youngsters with the right balance to challenge for silverware, both now and long into the future,” he said.
Merrick was understandably delighted with the appointment, and with the potential of Melbourne Victory and the Hyundai A-League.
“I am thrilled to be chosen to lead Melbourne Victory,” said Merrick. “The Hyundai A-League represents the best opportunity Australian football has had in decades to provide an excellent product for spectators and an excellent career path for players. I foresee a very long and successful road ahead, not just for Melbourne Victory, but for Australian football in general”.