Where are the 8 inaugural A-League coaches now?

-

It’s the end of an era for the A-League, with Fox drawing curtains on its 16-year deal with the league – and while the media giants have left fans frustrated recently – few could deny that the early days of the A-League in 2005 with Fox were grand.

With a touch of nostalgia, we wanted to find out what the first head coaches of the inaugural A-League season in 2005/06 have been up to recently.

Adelaide United – John Kosmina

Embed from Getty Images

We start our list with a big-name A-League figure in John Kosmina – affectionately known by the Australian football world as ‘Kozzie’.

Kosmina led Adelaide to the premiership in the 2005/06 season. A passionate coach cut from the ‘old school’, Kozzie provided some peak A-League moments, such as his armchair scuffle with Kevin Muscat in the 2006/07 season.

Kosmina most recently coached Brisbane Strikers in Queensland’s National Premier League and he occasionally appears on Fox Sports as a football pundit.

Central Coast Mariners – Lawrie McKinna

Embed from Getty Images

Another big-hitter on this list in terms of household A-League names, McKinna remarkably guided the Mariners to a spot in the inaugural A-League grand final.

While the Mariners lost to Sydney, few expected the Gosford club to get there and truth be told there was a feeling in the club that they were happy just to be there.

Mckinna left the Mariners in 2010. Always outspoken and certainly an ideas man, he had a spell in politics and was elected Mayor of Gosford in 2012.

He is currently the CEO of the Newcastle Jets, where he also helps coach their youth team.

Melbourne Victory – Ernie Merrick

Embed from Getty Images

Scotsman Ernie Merrick was appointed as coach of the Victory prior to the 2005/06 A-League season. Many experts had the club pencilled in for a strong finish, following the signings of big name Socceroos Kevin Muscat and Archie Thompson.

The first season was anything but a Victory for Melbourne as they finished second last. The Melbourne board stuck with Merrick and it proved a wise decision ­– he led Victory to four major trophies before departing in 2011.

Merrick most recently coached the Newcastle Jets, before he was sacked in 2020.

Newcastle Jets – Richard Money

Embed from Getty Images

Money was a former defender who played extensively in the old English First Division. His first job in football was as a caretaker coach for Scunthorpe United in 1987 – making him one of the most experienced coaches ahead of the first A-League season

Money did reasonably well at Newcastle, leading them to a fourth-place finish and a finals spot. Before leaving after one season in charge.

He was most recently at Hartlepool United at 2019, as a technical director, before he left just five days into the role after he was allegedly abused at a fish and chip shop.

New Zealand Knights – John Adshead

Embed from Getty Images

No old school A-League list is complete without the infamous New Zealand Knights, who were made defunct after the 2006/07 season due to poor crowds and terrible on field results.

English born John Adshead had a formidable reputation in New Zealand, as he had guided the Kiwis to their first ever FIFA World Cup place in 1982.

The task of galvanising a successful New Zealand based team, who had a board with no clear vision, coupled with limited funding, was too much for Adshead. They finished the inaugural A-League season in last place, with just six points.

Adshead left his post after this season due to a cancer scare, and this was to be his final job in football. He remains a highly popular figure in New Zealand.

Perth Glory – Steve McMahon

Embed from Getty Images

The A-League seemed to have a fascination with British coaches in the early days. McMahon was another such coach, and he enjoyed a long playing career in his native England.

Unfortunately for McMahon, he became the first ever A-League coaching casualty when he was sacked just three months into the opening season.

His last coaching role was on a reality TV show in 2013 known as First XI, in which amateur players are coached, and the final 11 contestants get the chance to train with the Real Madrid Foundation.

Queensland Roar – Miron Bleiberg

Embed from Getty Images

In terms of outlandish A-League managers, few go past Miron Bleiberg. Born in Israel, Bleiberg came to Australia in the 1980s as a backpacker and never left. He scored a job coaching Melbourne Knight’s youth team in 1984 and was quickly promoted to head coach of the first team.

While he may be remembered an an enigma who generated multiple media headlines, Bleiberg also coached his teams to many impressive performances on the back of an attacking style of management. Despite the Roar missing the finals in the first A-League season, they were praised for their style of football.

Bleiberg’s most recent job was managing Oakleigh Cannons, which he left in 2015.

Sydney FC – Pierre Littbarski

Embed from Getty Images

Sydney FC stated its intention to be the premier club in Australia from the early days of the A-League by signing Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke.

They were quickly nicknamed ‘Bling FC’, and they fittingly chose an all-star coach in Littbarski.

Littbarski won a World Cup in 1990 for Germany and is a legend in German football. He was successful at Sydney, leading them to a championship in the first ever A-League grand final, which cemented his place as a Sky Blues legend

This was to be his only season at Sydney, after he departed that off-season to Japan.

His most recent appointment was at VFL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, where he served as an assistant coach in 2012.

Feature image credit: Supplied.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Adam Sheldon
Full time football addict. Passionate about any sport with balls. Covering Sydney FC A-League and W-League teams for the upcoming season.
Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required