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A-League: What next for Melbourne Victory after Popovic exit?

Melbourne Victory face a crucial few weeks as they seek a replacement for Tony Popovic, who has left his position of head coach.

Popovic was out of contract at the end of last season, and the club have announced that he will not be staying on to lead them next season.

The decision was announced just a couple of weeks after Victory suffered grand final heartbreak at the hands of the Central Coast Mariners.

Popovic did a great job in three seasons at Victory and now it is important the right man comes in to carry on the good work.

Let’s take a look at what is next for Melbourne Victory.

Popovic a tough man to replace

Popovic has to be given credit for turning Melbourne Victory around during his three-year spell at the club.

Following the departure of Kevin Muscat as coach, Victory went through a tough spell and were at the wrong end of the ladder when Popovic was handed the reins.

Popovic made an immediate impact and in his first season they missed out on the Premier’s Plate by just one point.

Victory may have missed out on grand final glory with Popovic, but he did guide them to a semi-final, a grand final and a victory in the Australia Cup.

He was also just minutes away from winning the 2023/24 grand final before the Mariners equalised late and then won in extra time.

Popovic can leave with his head high, but now it is crucial that Victory find the right man to replace him.

Fowler linked with Victory

Victory chairman John Dovaston has said it is important they find a head coach that can build on the foundations that Popovic put down in his three seasons.

A host of names have already been linked with the club, including Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who has already had a spell in the A-League.

It was a brief one with Brisbane Roar, but there is talk of him wanting to return to Australia as coach of Melbourne Victory.

After leaving Brisbane Roar, brief spells in the India Super League and Saudi Arabia followed, and it would be seen as a gamble by Victory if they opted for Fowler.

Kisnorbo in the frame

Another name in the frame is former Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo.

Kisnorbo enjoyed great success with Victory’s rivals, before heading to France for an unsuccessful spell with Troyes.

He is now looking for a new job, and has also been linked with the vacant position at Western Sydney Wanderers.

Kisnorbo has proven himself as a successful A-League head coach and could be a safer option for the Victory board.

Other names said to be in the frame are Adelaide United assistant Mark Milligan and Western United assistant Hayden Foxe.

Whoever lands the job will have a strong squad to work with and the backing of an ambitious Melbourne Victory board.

They are set up to challenge for glory in the 2024/25 A-League season, but it goes without saying, the managerial appointment is huge.

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