Less than 24 hours after announcing that they had sacked Mike Mulvey from the head coach role, today they confirmed that former Dutch International Frans Thijssen interim manager until the end of the season.
Thijssen, 62, had a stellar playing career including spells at Eredivise clubs NEC Nijmegen and FC Twente, in addition to being amongst the first foreign players to make their mark in the English game with Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forrest. Thijssen also made 14 appearances for his national team from 1975-1981, including the 1980 European Championships where the Netherlands failed to get out of the group phase.
While his playing pedigree is stellar, his coaching resume is less so, with only four brief spells as a senior head coach to his name- the last of which was back in 2001 with Fortuna Sitard. Since then Thijssen has been working in the Middle East as a youth coach, where he first met Brisbane Director of Football Ken Stead. His most recent coaching experience was back in 2009 with Al Jazira.
Here’s a breakdown of what Frans had to say at his unveiling today:
– When I was asked to come over to Australia, we spoke about working in the youth as a technical director, but things change in football.
– The training was sharp, lot of work to do getting to know the players.
– Lot of work to do, hopefully we can turn the season around.
– We have to get points. We can only catch them if we get points against, them. Not one or two results but we have to play better and get results. That’s my job.
– You don’t have to know players previously to make them better. If you work with players you can improve players in training. That’s what we will try to do. Im a trainer who works on player’s technique.
– I watched the last game (Melbourne) where we lost the ball so quick that we were always under pressure. There’s a lot of things we can improve. I have my ideas on things we can improve, players will hear about that in the dressing room. Im here to improve things.
It could be that he prefers working in youth development, but his coaching resume isn’t the best it’s fair to say. It was also confirmed today that Thijssen wouldn’t be considered for the role long term, with Dobson saying that he will take up the Technical Director role at the end of the season.
As a short term option, hopefully he can come in and stabilise things and get it all back on track, starting with Perth on Saturday. For now thou it’s a warm welcome to the sixth head coach in Brisbane history, and the first who hasn’t previously been working here in Australia.
After a long day full of speculation, Brisbane have finally confirmed that head coach Mike Mulvey has been removed from the role with immediate effect. The conformation of his departure comes on the back of reports in the paper yesterday and this morning claiming that he had been sacked and replaced by Dutchman Frans Thijssen. The second part of that is yet to be confirmed however.
In their statement, General Manager Sean Dobson has said the decision comes after a review of the club, which started following the conclusion of last season and included the pre-season and the games played so far. The board review of all Brisbane Roar FC football operations was conducted in line with Brisbane Roar’s commitment to continual improvement,” Mr Dobson said.
Mulvey, who took over in December 2012 after the departure of Rado Vidosic, departs the club after 56 games in charge. Of those 56 games, Brisbane won 27, drew 8 and lost 21. Here’s a table of how he compares to his predecessors.
The early days of the Mulvey era were a struggle with a side trying to re-gain their form after back to back Championships, but he steadied the ship to make the top 6 before falling one game short of the Grand Final. Last year Brisbane, under Mulvey’s stewardship won the Premiership by 10 points before winning a third Grand Final against the Wanderers.
Things however haven’t gone according to plan this season with the recruitment failing to replace key players who have departed, and off field dramas in the locker room playing a big role in the decision to part ways. Losing five games out of six hasn’t helped his case however it should be said.
Brisbane now have to appoint a new manager, and whoever that is will have a massive challenge on their hands to regain the momentum which has lead the club to consistent success in recent seasons. Those challenges include regenerating a playing group which has been together for a long time, bringing harmony back to the playing group, turning results around this season and making an impact in the Champions League next season.
More on potential successors as news emerges.