Once an A-League powerhouse, Melbourne Victory are now on the hunt for a fourth head coach in less than two years after Grant Brebner’s short reign came to a humiliating end.
Victory announced within hours of Saturday’s 7-0 mauling by crosstown rivals Melbourne City that Brebner’s troubled time as head coach was over.
A two-time championship winner as a player at Victory, Brebner exits having won just three of 16 matches this season including two frightful hidings at the hands of table-topping City.
The decision means that, since Kevin Muscat’s trophy-laden six-year reign ended in May 2019, German Marco Kurz, Spaniard Carlos Salvachua and now Brebner have all been and gone in Victory’s coaching hot-seat.
Just who will replace Brebner is unclear, with a return by Muscat unlikely despite his current availability following a short-lived stint at the helm of Belgian top-flight club Sint-Truiden.
Ex-Perth and Western Sydney boss Tony Popovic is also unemployed after a similarly short tenure in Greece with FC Xanthi, though whether the ex-Socceroo is keen for an A-League return is unknown.
Another mooted candidate is Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay, who knocked back Victory last year to stay with the New Zealanders but is off contract at season’s end and has reportedly been approached by Victory’s board.
Whoever takes over faces a monumental task to get the former juggernaut back on its feet, with club legend Archie Thompson making it plain the current woes are not just the fault of those on the coaching staff.
“These cracks were showing for a long, long time,” Thompson told Fox Sports.
“Unfortunately they’re clear as day now and I think it’s down to what you see with the players and the quality of players and whether they’re a standard of player for Melbourne Victory.”
Chairman Anthony Di Pietro said whether one of Brebner’s assistants in Steve Kean or Jean-Paul de Marigny will step in on an interim basis for the remainder of this season is yet to be decided.
“As far as who is going to be head coach and any other structural changes, we’re not in a position to announce anything this evening,” Di Pietro said after Saturday’s loss. “At this point there’s no other changes but clearly there’ll be changes going forward.”