Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro promised to provide new Melbourne Victory Head Coach Marco Kurz with the resources he needs to be successful in his introductory press conference on Wednesday.
The 50-year-old German was formally announced as the Victory boss in late June, signing a two-year contract to replace the outgoing Kevin Muscat and become the sixth Head Coach in Victory history after a two-year stint at the helm of Adelaide United.
Arriving in Australia after coaching in his native Germany, including leading 1.FC Kaiserslautern to promotion in 2009-10, Kurz guided the Reds to the A-League finals and two FFA Cup deciders in both his season’s in South Australia; winning the 2018 iteration of the FFA Cup. Despite this success, it was announced by Reds management late in the 2018-19 season that he would not be returning for 2019-20.
One of the most common refrains in the wake of Kurz appointment at Victory – both from its own fans and those of Adelaide – was that the 50-year-old was set to enter into an environment where he would have significantly more financial backing than his time in South Australia.
Seated alongside Kurz during his reveal, Di Pietro made clear that it was indeed Victory’s intention to back their new manager to the best of their ability – perhaps even to the extent of bringing in another Keisuke Honda level signing.
“We want to provide every resource we possibly can to support Marco,” Di Pietro said.
“There’s quite a bit of work to build the squad, which is an amazing opportunity and we think that, with what we can support Marco with and his leadership, we’re really excited that he can ignite the passion amongst our fans.
“He’s a passionate person and with the right resources, it’s an exciting time ahead.
“We have a marquee position available and there’s a number of discussions underway at the moment, but it’s too early to tell; it’s just watch this space.
“I would strongly recommend to every A-league club that we should be bringing marquees [using the marquee player fund]. Obviously, that has to fit criteria for the club, the game, the marquee fund and, of course, the final decision on the playing roster always rests with the coach.
“(The coach) needs to be happy with who is brought to the club.”
Kurz arrives in Melbourne with four visa positions, a marquee slot and a number of empty roster spots on Victory’s books heading into the 2019/20 season; the A-League heavyweights up to this point staying comparatively under the radar during the offseason.
Whilst that does mean that Kurz will have a relatively blank slate to work with in his new role, the German on Wednesday made clear that attention was turned both inward and outward.
“I think that if a coach comes into the club you have a lot of work to do,” he explained.
“A new coach always brings a new philosophy, a new culture, a new strategy and new structures. That means I need to speak with everybody in the club to explain my ideas but also get to know what was in the past and then to find out a good way for success for the future.
“I think it’s very important to get to know each player, to know the player as a person.
“There are also squad positions that must be filled with high quality players. At the moment we are in discussions with players from overseas and Australia as well and we are looking forward to building a strong and talented team. But it needs time.
“I think that soccer is the same in Melbourne as it is in Adelaide. It’s 11 against 11.
“I think it’s very important to find the right players for our fantastic club, the members and the fans and to form a strong and hungry team.
“That’s important, that if you start a game you want to win.”
One hole that Kurz won’t have to worry about filling – unlike his time in Adelaide – is the No.9 role.
Swedish striker Ola Toivonen – now upgraded to marquee wages – will enter his second season with Victory this coming season; coming off a campaign in which he found the back of the net 15 times in 22 appearances.
“I’m really excited to work with him,” Kurz said of Toivonen.
“I think he’s a fantastic player. I know from the past it was always hard to control him. It’s this kind of special player in the A-League and it’s good to have him in our squad.”
Though United against Victory is one of the most storied fixtures in the A-League – christened as its ‘Original Rivalry’ – Kurz downplayed the potential extra enmity that could arise from his move to Melbourne in his introductory press conference.
“Adelaide gave me a chance to be the coach and a part of the A-League,” Kurz said.
“We had a lot of success and it was a fantastic time and a beautiful city with lovely people.
“But, and it’s a big but, it is the past and now we are in the present and I’m proud to be the coach of Victory. I’m sure if we play against them we want to win.
“Maybe the first time will be special for everybody but for me, as a coach, for sure it’s an important game but it’s not the special game.”
Kurz first competitive hit out in charge of Victory will come against Newcastle Jets in the FFA Cup’s Round of 32, to be held at AAMI Park on August 7.