Ex-club captain Mark Rudan has put his hand up for the Sydney FC coaching job - but former coach Ian Crook insists Frank Farina deserves more time.
Rudan has been a favourite to replace under-fire Farina who sparked a fans and player revolt at the weekend and whose treatment of Nick Carle and Matt Thompson led to the club being threatened with a points deduction and legal action by the players union.
Until now, Rudan has effectively dismissed a move from his current coaching role at Sydney United to return to his former A-League club.
But he has now put himself forward for the role as the noose tightens on Farina.
"It's a goal of mine to coach professionally," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I've completed two years now in the NPL, I'm starting my third year now, and I've gained a lot of experience and I know what I want and I know how to get it.
"I have made mistakes but it's all about improvement. One day, I want to coach at a professional level. If that's Sydney FC, or any other A-League club, I think that's the next step for me, if the time is right and the circumstances are right as well.
"What's happening now, it's never good to see. It is, for me, still the biggest club in Australia, which I believed from day one, when we signed Dwight Yorke and won the Championship.
"It's just sad to see when a player like [Alessandro] Del Piero comes to our shores and all these other things are going on. It's not good.
"Hopefully they can turn things around, and while I have an opinion [on how to do that], I'm not prepared to say much more."
But former Sydney FC coach Ian Crook still believes his replacement can turn the Sky Blues around and says Farina just needs more time in the job.
Crook led Sydney FC for the first six rounds of the 2012-2013 A-League season before resigning, with Farina appointed as head coach two and a half weeks later. Under Farina the Sky Blues finished in seventh place that season and currently they sit in seventh position, a point behind sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix.
“It’s disappointing to see the club going through what it is going through, but I know what Frank Farina’s like as a person, it won’t be from a lack of work,” Crook said.
“Frankie will be working his socks off to make it work. We have bad runs in football and it’s only, what, two or three weeks ago that they won 5-0 away and if they won again this weekend, that’s where for me it gets a bit driven by media.
“Just two weeks ago he was a genius and now all of a sudden instigating things to get him out, for me what’s changed in two weeks? They’ve had a couple of poor results but that’s how the game goes. You’re going to get poor results but they had a great result, 5-0 away at Melbourne is a great result.”
Sydney FC were beaten 3-0 last weekend at Allianz Stadium during dramatic scenes atmosphere where protests against Farina and the club’s board were unveiled. The week before they lost 2-1 away to Melbourne Heart, after taking an early 1-0 lead, but on Australia Day the Sky Blues pummelled Melbourne Victory 5-0 at Etihad Stadium.
Under Farina’s reign of 38 games Sydney FC has won 15, drawn six and lost 17 matches.
“He needs time, for me 100%,” Crook said. “I look at Frank and he’s coached the national team, he coached in the old NSL with Marconi and Brisbane, and been successful. A year’s not a long time, especially in our game here. The time that Frank has been in, which is November 2012, he’s probably had 30 to 35 games. It’s not many. It takes time.”
Crook admits it’s disappointing to see where Sydney FC is right now but feels the club could take some cues from its cross-town rivals.
“Sydney’s a winners market, that’s the one thing Tony Popovic has done exceptionally well at Western Sydney Wanderers,” he said.
“It’s obvious, he’s got a winning mentality and he’s got that going there and Sydney very much follows winners. It’s just disappointing to see where they are but the one thing I will say about the owner is for all those that have chopped and changed, before him, yes there was many changes.
“But since he was actually involved, Lavicka came to the end of his contract and that was decided, I think mutually. Mine was my own decision so I don’t think he’s not sort of gone out there and been one to wield the axe at the drop of a hat.
“It’s the same for every big club, you need to have some form of vision towards what you want over a three to four-year period. I think that’s where clubs need to have a long-term vision.
"Western Sydney Wanderers have that with Tony, they gave him a four-year deal and were looking to build something over four years.
"Clubs that look at just short-term building, one year at a time, I don’t think that works.”