BELGRADE - Red Star Belgrade's former international midfielder Vladimir Petrovic was appointed as coach of the troubled Serbian first division team on Wednesday after the club's torrid season on and off the pitch. Red Star suffered a second trophyless campaign and their 17th successive early exit from Europe amid a financial collapse at the club that saw two boards and club presidents forced to step down under pressure from angry fans. Red Star had parted company with their Macedonian coach Cedomir Janevski by mutual consent last month. Petrovic, installed a week after former striker Vladan Lukic became president of the 1991 European Cup winners, was cautious about turning things around quickly. "Next season we will try to mould a new team with a vision of long-term success, although we need to achieve some results as well," Petrovic told a news conference. "We are in a difficult situation but finishing third in Serbia is certainly not good enough." CREDIT CRUNCH At least a dozen players appear set to leave after the financial crisis at Red Star, coupled with the global credit crunch, left some of them unpaid. The club at one point had its telephones cut off because of overdue bills. Red Star also had to shut down their canteen and travel to an away game on match day because they couldn't afford to pay for a night in a local hotel. "This is a huge responsibility on my shoulders but the board has faith in me and I will do my best to get back some of our former players struggling abroad," said Petrovic, who played for English club Arsenal in 1983. But he also appeared resigned to losing Brazilian striker Cleo to champions and city foes Partizan, who won their second consecutive league and cup double this year. "Cleo can go because he is too expensive for us at this point in time," said Petrovic. "All we can say with any degree of certainty at the moment is that we will bring back our players on loan at other clubs."
3 June 2009
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