Give me Vic­tory job

Straka puts his hand up to coach Mel­bourne as Mer­rick gets punted

Townsville Bulletin - - Football - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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