The Melbourne Knights last week appointed club legend Ivan ?uzel as its new coach, continuing with their efforts to bring the club back to its roots. ?uzel’s appointment, coupled with a request to return to the club logo that was used during the Premiership years in the NSL, has been met with positive feedback by fans and people around the club when the news was broken on Wednesday afternoon.
In what has been very much a poisoned chalice since the Knights’ return to the Victorian Premier League, ?uzel is intent on staying and bringing about a positive on-field effect in the short and long term after the departure of Chris Taylor, whose turbulent final season at Somers Street showed effects of strain in the second half of the campaign. The former midfield maestro, despite the enormity of the task in front of him, is delighted with the move.
“I feel great about taking on the job. It feels as though the dream I had, even when I was playing here at the Knights, has come true,” he said. “I’m confident with the new board, and they seem to know what they are doing. One of their objectives set for me is to field a younger squad. One of the main issues concerning the Knights in the past few years, despite on-field successes, has been the distinct lack of youth players coming through the ranks.”
Out of the reserve side that swept all before it two seasons back, only Mate Dugandži? and Liam Cannell were able to cement first team spots, with many from that team looking to other VPL clubs for first team football. This is something that ?uzel is keen on rectifying.
Joining ?uzel in the coaching ranks are Paul Magdi?, the new Assistant Coach, and Ivan Perkov, who will oversee the reserve squad.
“We have a massive task at hand, but it is important that we start playing kids, and giving our youngsters a chance,” he said. “They (Magdi? and Perkov) are both very
ambitious. They are both proven at various levels in Victorian football, and I know that they will give their all for the benefit of the club.”
On the topic of pre-season transfer talk, numerous names have been bandied about with great enthusiasm, in terms of people who should return to the club. The likes of young Richmond defender Tomislav Uskok, Ante Lon?ari?, along with Altona Magic duo Nick Kalmar and Tony Sari?, have all been mentioned. ?uzel was not in any mood to name names, but was quietly confident in bringing in genuine quality.
“We’re going to talk to all of the people that we have on our shortlist. It is obvious that we’re not in the best financial state, but I believe that these players will choose with their hearts as well as their minds. A lot of it all depends on the prospects of stability at the club, and if we are able to bring about a positive atmosphere at the club, I do not see why we can’t go about progressing.
– Ante Juki? (CroExpress)