Farina gone! The end of an error, who will replace him?

Frank Farina remembers better days

So finally, after a long and frustrating season, Sydney FC have finally sacked Frank Farina. His campaign finished on the 1st week of the finals to Melbourne Victory, after finishing 5th in the regular season. Not even a week later, Sydney FC parted ways with him, so now begins the long voyage to find his replacement. Sydney FC will probably spend the next weeks to months scouring around the globe looking for the right man. After 8 coaches in 9 seasons it’s fair to say that not only the fans are frustrated, but management and the players are as well. CEO Tony Pignata, Chairman Scott Barlow and the board have a massive task on their hands. Who will lead Sydney FC in the future?

Potential Sydney FC managers

Steve Corica

Current Job: Sydney FC Youth team coach

Notable playing accolades:

  • Played 100 games for English side Wolverhampton Wolves
  • Sydney FC Foundation player, played with them for 5 seasons
  • Won the Championship with Sydney FC twice and the premiers’ plate once.

Notable coaching accolades:

  • Coached Sydney FC for 2 weeks as caretaker coach after the departure of Ian Crook until the arrival of Frank Farina.
  • Won the National Youth League with Sydney FC as Youth Coach season 2013/14.


Stevie is one of Sydney’s favourite sons, having scored some crucial goals during his playing time (such as the winner in Sydney FC’s Grand Final win against the Mariners in season 1) and has been a wonderful leader and role model in the harbour city.

I watched a few NYL games this season and have to say I was very impressed with the style of play and the structure Corica’s team showed. It was easily better than Farina at least.

He continues his influence and leadership at the club nurturing some of the city’s best talents in the youth team and showed his tactical prowess and man management ability by winning the league. The supporters would be right behind him as well, being a favourite son and, hopefully management will be too.

Chance: 7/10

Mark Rudan
Current Job: Sydney United (NSWPL) head coach

Notable playing accolades:

  • Sydney FC’s club captain for season 1
  • Was the captain for Sydney FC’s Grand Final win in season 1 against Central Coast Mariners

Notable coaching accolades:

  • Sydney United head coach since 2011
  • Won the NSWPL league for 2013 with Sydney United


Mark Rudan is a Big Blue man. Loved by the supporters since day one. Back in the day, he wore his Sky blue shirt with pride and defended like a champion. Coaching wise he is well-known for wanting total autonomy and control during his time at Sydney United, changing everything from top to bottom. It took him a few seasons to do it as well, but eventually he won the league so I guess he has some credentials?

His on-the-field coaching style is very precise and making sure the structure of the team is perfect and everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are.

Only questions I have of his appointment would be: Will Rudan want total control at the highest level knowing full well A-league clubs (especially Sydney FC) are usually very reluctant to do so? And secondly, will Sydney FC even be nice enough to give him total control given their inconsistent history in the A-league? The only thing consistent about Sydney FC is the constant change. Will Sydney FC be brave enough to change the whole club from top to bottom to fix this problem?

Chances are, it might not even come to that. Sydney FC might just hire him as a normal coach like every other coach it has hired previously, giving him only control of the first team squad and giving him one season to make his mark. Rudan might accept that, thinking he is ready. But will he? I’m not so sure.

Chance: 6/10

Alessandro Del Piero

Current Job: Sydney FC player

Notable playing accolades:

  • Winning the world cup with Italy in 2006
  • Winning numerous trophies with Juventus, too many to list on here
  • Currently leading the Sydney FC all-time goal scoring charts

Notable coaching accolades:


Delps was quickly amongst the names in the rumour mill, even before this season ended and before Farina was sacked. After rumours suggested that the leadership group at Sydney FC were unhappy with Farina’s attitude and tactical ability, Del Piero was rumoured to take coaching control. Del Piero being the most experienced character in the group that had players such as Nicky Carle and Matt Thompson, was obviously the most respected and influential, so he’s already got an upper hand on any other external candidate because he has influence over the players. The main big drawback though in hiring ADP is that he obviously has no coaching experience whatsoever and although he has been coached by some of the world’s best, and probably has taken a lot out of it, I think it would be a major risk to hire Sydney’s number 10.

Worth pointing out he is yet to even announce his retirement officially yet, so for all we know, he might play on with the sky blues for season 2014/15.

It’s also rumoured that Sydney FC might get an experienced Italian/European coach with ADP as assistant which wouldn’t be too bad at all.

Chance: 4/10

Graham Arnold

Current Job: unemployed

Notable playing accolades:

  • 178 apps for Sydney United
  • Notable experiences in Holland in particular at Roda JC and NAC Breda
  • Also played in Belgium and Japan
  • Represented Australia 54 times, scoring 19 goals.

Notable coaching accolades:

  • Worked as an assistant coach under Guus Hiddink for the World Cup 2006 campaign
  • Has lead the Central Coast Mariners to 2 premiers plates and a championship
  • Coached J-league club Vegalta Sendai

Graham Arnold is one of the most respected coaches to have ever graced Australian football and maybe sport. He’s well known for being a terrific man manager, articulate, precise and influential in the dressing room. The Mariners team that won the A-league last season being the epitome of his career so far. However, after a bad stint in Japan he is now jobless and rumours are he might either sign with Newcastle Jets or Sydney FC. He also had a bad stint at the International level losing all of the games in the 2007 Asia cup campaign; though he did say “There’s some players who seem like they don’t want to be here. I’m extremely disappointed.”

One thing to note though, before Ian Crook was appointed it is believed that Sydney FC offered a coaching position to Arnold first, but he turned it down. Not sure whether it was because he wasn’t allowed to bring in all of his staff because he likes control, or because he wasn’t offered long-term security for the job, which he also prefers. Either way Graham Arnold is already a rejected candidate for Sydney FC, and in my opinion, it would be unwise trying to go back to him. There are other coaches out there with similar if not better pedigree, but if we are to get him I wouldn’t be too displeased as well, would certainly be miles better than Farina anyway.

Chance: 7/10

Ricki Herbert

Current Job: unemployed

Notable playing accolades:

  • Played for English side Wolverhampton Wolves
  • Played for Sydney Olympic
  • Played 61 games for New Zealand

Notable coaching accolades:

  • Well-known for coaching the New Zealand national team in the 2010 world cup in which they came out undefeated, but were still unable to get through the group stage.
  • Coached Wellington Phoenix for 6 seasons

With Herbert out of a job currently after New Zealand unable to qualify for the upcoming world cup in Brazil after the defeat to Mexico, its unsurprising that he was automatically linked with Sydney FC after a successful (well for New Zealand football standards) 2006 world cup campaign and a decent A-league record with Wellington Phoenix as well.

He ticks both boxes of A-league and international experience and would be a decent replacement to Farina, although not the best.

If Graham Arnold moves to Newcastle then Herbert might be the 2nd option Sydney FC chase during the break.

Chance: 5/10

Dragan Stojkovic

Current Job:

Notable playing accolades:

  • 120 apps for Red Star Belgrade and 54 goals  in just 4 seasons
  • One of 5 players to be awarded the title “Star of the Red Star”
  • Played alongside legends such as Eric Cantona, Chris Waddle, Didier Deschamps (current manager of France) and Abide Pele at Marseille between 1990-1994
  • Long-term captain for Yugoslavian and “Serbia and Montenegro” national team, starred in the 1990 and 1998 world cups.
  • Spent 7 seasons at J-league side Nagoya Grampus Eight, signed by current Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who was the manager at the time. Played 183 games and scored 57 goals.
  • Was named J-league MVP for the 1995 season

Notable Coaching Accolades:

  • Started his coaching career at Nagoya Grampus 8 in 2008 where he ended his playing career, helped his team finish 3rd which meant the club qualified for the ACL for the first time ever, in his debut season.
  • In 2010, lead Nagoya Grampus 8 to the J-league title, the clubs very first.
  • Won J-league manager of the year in 2010

Dragan is probably a really really far long shot, like 45 yard long shot in football terms, or he might not be, who knows? He’s probably the least likely on this list though. Compared to the names in this list, he’s probably the most highly decorated player and coach linked with the Sydney FC job but also the least likely. He comes with some serious pedigree and in my opinion should be Sydney FC’s first choice for the upcoming season. If Sydney wants to play “domineering”, attacking football and compete with the best, then Dragan will be the most qualified coach to lead the team to glory.

An advantage he has is that he’ll have the likes of Nikola Petkovic, Milos Dimitrijevic and Ranko Despotovic to work with and hopefully the Serbian connection will give the team some good chemistry early on, FORZA SERBNEY.

He’s also got a professional relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after being coached by him in Japan and says “Our ideas are the same and we both strive for perfect football”, so that relationship could be beneficial for Sydney FC.

Chance: 3/10


There are a few more candidates for the role that I didn’t think were worthy enough to be profiled in this blog including Holger Osieck (he’s actually worse than Farina), Branko Culina, Aurelio Vidmar, Paul Okon, John Kosmina and more. For all we know it could be none of the names mentioned but someone undiscovered from Europe/Asia with an interesting coaching resume. Moyes anyone?

Every football club just wants stability. Success is something that comes naturally (with an added ingredient of hard work and a bit of luck), so ensuring Sydney FC’s long term future should be the board’s number 1 priority this upcoming off-season. That begins with selecting the right coach, with the right qualities to lead the Sky Blues from season 2014/15 and beyond.

Frank Farina was a mistake, and now it’s time to move on and get back on track.

About Chris Gouw (17 Articles)
Sydney FC and Arsenal FC fan, student, aspiring football coach, dreams of going to the world cup in Brazil next year. Sydney is sky blue. Come on you Gooners
Contact: Twitter
  • Craig

    I think Arnold has it in the bag especially after the jets signing another coach. A month a go a guy from work said Sydney were after Giggs as manager and i find it interesting now Giggs said he may not be a Man Utd next season as he wants to further his coaching career. I give it a 1/10 chance but it is nice to think about.

    Arnold knows the league here, the players in the market and how to get results. People complain about his boring style, but i would rather a boring style and challenge for the title each year instead of being mid-table like we have the last few year and really only making up the numbers.

    • Chris Gouw

      yeah agreed with you on Arnold, probably the most sensible, safest coach we can get. the most important thing he brings though is structure, thats something we desperately need and hopefully he can work well with Han Berger in implementing it. if we get Arnold that is…