Why Warren Joyce isn’t the man for Wellington Phoenix

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Mark Rudan is leaving the Wellington Phoenix at the end of this season, and for the fourth time in four years, the Kiwi club will have a new head coach.

As usual when a head coach leaves, speculation is rife, and names are thrown everywhere. Current assistant coach Chris Greenacre, NZ U-20 manager Des Buckingham, a combo of Buckingham and Greenacre, as well as Marco Kurz are some of the names being linked with the job.

But another name that has gained some traction within parts of the media is Warren Joyce, the current Melbourne City head coach.

Joyce is under fire at Melbourne City, for underachievement and it seems unlikely that he will still be the City head coach next season.

The talent in City’s squad is undeniable. Yet, under Joyce, they have consistently under-performed. They were, until Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Wellington Phoenix, in a fight for fourth when they should be battling for the league title.

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And that doesn’t tell the whole story. Joyce has developed a habit of discarding talented players in favour of the collective grind. Tim Cahill, Neil Kilkenny and Mark Birighitti are just a few to fall out of favour as a result of the Englishman’s preference for grit over flair.

Exhibit A: Bruno Fornaroli. The Uruguayan was a Melbourne City legend, the fastest player in history to reach 30 A-League goals, who found himself unceremoniously dumped by Joyce before signing for Perth.

There’s no way to sugar coat this: Joyce has failed miserably at City. He’s had one of the most talented sides the A-League has ever seen and he’s delivered zilch. City should have won the league by now, but they have come up empty handed. There’s no way he deserves a contract renewal.

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But here’s the thing. Joyce’s failure has come despite being backed by the riches of the City Football Group and the Abu Dhabi royal family.

For contrast, WelNix, the group who owns the Phoenix might as well be a group of beggars on the street in comparison. City get truckloads of investment in the playing squad each year, while the Phoenix run on the smell of an oily rag.

In fact, an apparent lack of investment is something that departing Phoenix head coach Mark Rudan has complained about this season.

So, all of these roads lead to one point. If Joyce can’t succeed with Melbourne City and all of the investment behind him there, then there is a snowball’s chance in hell he will succeed with the Phoenix and its financial struggles.

Featured image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Dan Moskovitz
The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.