Give me Victory job
Straka puts his hand up to coach Melbourne as Merrick gets punted
JOB-hunting Franz Straka believes he can be the man that returns the Melbourne Victory to their rightful place at the top.
The former Fury coach yesterday revealed he would join the growing list of candidates putting their hands up for the A-League gig after longtime mentor Ernie Merrick was shown the door at the weekend.
Having already declared his desire to remain in Australia, Straka spoke excitedly about the opening at the Victory.
Although he knows it is a position that comes with plenty of expectation and pressure.
Merrick was the winningest coach in A-League history, including two titles, but finishing fifth in 2010/ 11 wasn’t good enough.
‘‘ It is a team that has to be on the top, I know what it is like. I came in the same situation to Sparta Prague . . . and that club you can’t be bottom ( of the league), you can’t be poor,’’ Straka said.
‘‘ They were near bottom ( and) I took Prague to second or third and qualification to the Champions League.
‘‘ There would be nothing new about the pressure and the responsibility – I’d like this challenge – and if you have a team like Melbourne Victory, with so much potential, the expectation is normal, you have to be top.’’
Victory youth team coach Mehmet Durakovic has been promoted to replace Merrick for the rest of the Asian Champions League campaign, but who takes the reins of the team in the long term remains in the air.
Durakovic, skipper Kevin Muscat and championship-winning Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglu have all been touted.
A Victory spokesman said the process of finding a replacement hadn’t started, but added ‘‘ all options would be explored’’.
St r a ka s a i d he had hi r e d a n Australian-based agent through Titan Management to push his case.
‘‘ A club like Melbourne Victory is like if you are a coach in England of Chelsea or Manchester United, the clubs are very famous the world over – it would be fantastic,’’ the former Czech Republic national coach said.
Straka became a cult hero among fans during his A-League debut season with the Fury.
Hi s e x c i t a b l e s i d e l i n e a n t i c s , passionate displays and fashion sense made him a regular in weekly highlights packages.
But during a difficult campaign that ultimately ended with Fury being axed, North Queensland FC finished in last place.
Asked why that shouldn’t work against him in the process, Straka said: ‘‘ You can believe in me if I get this job, if I get the chance, I will make them crazy about football – more excitement, more passion.
‘‘ Starting work with Fury compared to starting work with Victory ( is so different) – the ( player) quality is there.
‘‘ If you want a player, you get a player ( at Melbourne). At the Fury we got together a team, but the budget was not so good ( 85 per cent of the salary cap) . . . and I think this was the big difference.’’