Coaching changes are never easy at the best of times, let alone replacing a coach who has been in charge of a club for half a decade.
That is the case with the Melbourne Knights as the newly appointed Eric Vassiliadis has the task of filling the shoes left by the clubs longest serving coach Andrew Marth.
It might be some pressure to take on, but Vassiliadis shows none of it, and taking the pressure in his stried. For him, there were no doubts when the Knights job offer came around.
“It was a very easy decision in the end. I think the project at my previous club Port Melbourne was clear and I left there on good terms. I took the club as far as I could. Then I was looking for a new project and in my mind there is no bigger one than coaching this club.”
For Vassiliadis, a former player at both National Soccer League and Victorian Premier League level, the Knights position will be his second senior coaching role after having spent 7 seasons in charge at the Port Melbourne Sharks.
At the Sharks he took the proud club, that was languishing at the time of his appointment in 2010 in the third tier of Victorian football, all the way up to the top division of the National Premier Leagues where they have remained ever since, becoming a mainstay of the competition.
His time at Port Melbourne shaped him deeply as a coach and has given him the experience to craft a clear plan of what he wants to achieve at the Knights.
“Over 7 years I’ve gone through various evolution’s. I’ve got a winning style, so we need to win. We need to be disciplined, we need to be well organised,” he said.
“But in very broad terms we need to maximise the resources of the football club. To ensure we get the best out of our footballers so we can win games, and ultimately championships.”
Though the Knights are coming into its upcoming clash against Pascoe Vale on the back of a hard fought win over Hume City, the recent form of the club has been poor having gone 7 consecutive games without a win before breaking the drought last week.
Vasiliadis, however is extremely positive about what he has seen so far, despite being under no illusion that the club has been under performing and that a tough challenge continues to lie ahead.
“The reality is that it’s an extremely talented squad. Probably one of the most talented in the league, but it’s simply suffering from injuries, suspensions, and not really having players at their full capacity. That just doesn’t work for me, but we’ve got to find solutions and win straight away.”
Most promising for Knights fans will be to hear that Vassiliadis is not just thinking about the short term results of moving away from the relegation zone and pushing for finals football. He is in for the long haul and already has his eyes set towards what will follow next.
“The long term goal is easy for me, it’s a very clear vision to make the club a preeminent force in Australian football again,” Vassiliadis said.
“We need to take it in very short steps, we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to be very careful, make sure we’ve got clarity and we don’t overload the players. So we can get to where we want to be, and I think we are absolutely good enough to achieve it.”
Vassiliadis will be hoping to get maximum points as his tenure gets underway with his first game in charge of the Knights, taking on Pascoe Vale this Friday night at CB Smith Reserve. Kick-off is at 8:15pm.