Now before we begin, this is not a #popaout article. This is simply 5 coaches that could take the helm at Western Sydney IF Popovic decided to move elsewhere end of the season. Which I am not saying he will do, this is only a hypothetical.
Honourable mention: Mark Bosnich
Qualifications: Over 200 EPL games for Chelsea, Manchester United, and Aston Villa player. Winning 2 League cups with Villa, a premiership and intercontinental cup with Many U,
Bozza is a Fox Sports pundit who has given his opinion on multiple occasions in regards to the A-League and especially the Wanderers. He has recently called on Popa and the club to give answers to the fans that we are so desperately seeking. In saying that, Bosnich has declared that he won’t manage based on his past and will stay as a pundit. Could potentially see him as a GK coach or an adviser to the club.
5. Josep Gombau
Qualifications: Former Barcelona youth, Kitchee SC, Adelaide United and current Australia U23s manager.
A favourite amongst fans, Gombau holds an impressive resume. He currently holds the highest level of coaching licence in Spain, winning back to back premierships in Hong Kong as well as 3 cups with Kitchee, and most recently winning the FFA cup with Adelaide. Josep also boasts a staggering 56% win rate across 6 seasons of football.
However, being the newly appointed manager of the Austalian U23s side, it is doubtful that the FFA would let him pursue a career with a club so soon after taking the role. Should strongly be considered in the future though.
4. Ante Milicic
Qualifications: Former NSL player most notably for Sydney United. Won an NSL championship with Sydney Olympic ad an OFC Nations cup with Australia. Former assistant manager with WSW.
In 2012 after being passed over for the vacant head manager role with then Melbourne Heart, Milicic took on the role of assistant manager with Popovic in our inaugural season. At the end of the 2013/14 season he joined Ange Postecolglou as the assistant coach of the Socceroos.
No stranger to the Wanderers and a fan favourite, Milicic would slot right back in as manager in the Red and Black. Being instrumental in our early success, one could only wonder how things would pan out if he was at the helm instead of an assistant. Like Gombau however, it is hard to see him leaving the Socceroos to come back to club football.
3. Mark Rudan
Qualifications: Former NSL and A-League player most notably for Sydney United and Sydney FC. Former Sydney United manager winning 2 NPL championships. Currently working with the U20s national team.
Mark Rudan took Sydney United to new heights in his 4 years at the head of the club. Winning 2 doubles in 2013 and 2016; the NSW NPL premiership and the NPL championship. He is known to have completely reformed the team, leading them to major success. In fact last NPL season they only lost to Blacktown City in the regular season and the NSW grand final.
With an impressive resume Rudes appears to be a fine fit for an A-League club and has definitely proven himself ready to take the reigns. However, he is a former Sydney player, even being inducted into their hall of fame. Which begs the question, would Wanderers fans be happen with him? Also working with the U20s, it may be unlikely that he would come back to club football so soon.
2. Ernie Merrick
Qualifications: Former Melboure Victory and most recently Wellington Phoenix manager.
Ernie Merrick is the most successful manager in A-League history with 2 championships and 2 premierships with Victory. It is easy to forget how successful he was considering his failures with the Nix. Merrick holds a 40% win rate over his career, with 43.5% at the Victory and 32.98% at Phoenix. So despite his run of bad form across the ditch, his previous successes show he is a coach that knows how to win, and could finally deliver the illusive championship to the Wanderers.
A strong candidate, and being unemployed as a manager would jump at the opportunity to work within the A-League again.
1. Andres Carrasco
Qualifications: Current Wanderers assistant manager, Former Barcelona academy manager.
Holding a UEFA pro licence, which is the highest level of coaching accreditation possible from UEFA, Carrasco plied his trade at the Barcelona youth academy La Masia. Having worked with star players such as Messi, Iniesta and Pique it is clear that he is a very talented coach. In fact he turned down an offer from PSG to come to Parramatta. His Spanish connections also assisted in landing players such as Andreu followed by Dimas and Alberto.
It is hard to tell what he could do as the head manager. He posses a similar view as Popa does in terms of possession based tactics, but his management approach appears to be a little less authoritarian. There is many a fan calling for him to be given a chance to properly lead the team.
That’s our list! Like it or disagree with the ordering? Perhaps there is another manager that we have overlooked? Maybe you think a consortium of Wanderers armchair coaches should take over?
Let us know in the comments!