Who’d be a football manager?


If you were keen to find yourself an expressway to insanity, coaching might just be the ticket for you.

If you were keen to find yourself an expressway to insanity, it might just be the ticket for you.

Surely that’s where beleaguered Melbourne Victory boss Mehmet Durakovic must have thought he was when Gold Coast United’s Peter Jungschlager rifled home his equaliser just after half-time yesterday.

Any sane bloke coaching this team would have turned on his heel, headed down the tunnel at AAMI Park, walked straight out to the cab rank on Swan Street and sped away never to be seen again.

By that point in the game, Durakovic had endured a carnival of craziness that sums up the coaching caper.

A third-minute penalty to put his side ahead. A second spot kick that gave his team a two-goal buffer. A red card issued to veteran defender Roddy Vargas for a tackle that belonged at a rodeo and not on a football pitch. And his team re-gifting a penalty kick to Gold Coast like an unwanted Christmas present.

It was 45 minutes with more ups and downs that the lifts at Centrepoint Tower.

It’s fascinating to watch these men working on the edge of reality to see how they handle the roller-coaster of fate they ride each time their team plays.

Yesterday Durakovic cut a starkly contrasting figure to the man slumped in his chair seemingly bewildered by events last week as Perth Glory frustrated Victory.

Patrolling his technical area like a caged lion, arms flailing like a cop directing traffic at peak hour, Durakovic made a point of not simply letting events unfold but trying to shape them.

Most of the time that’s not possible, something that Gold Coast United’s erstwhile gaffer Miron Bleiberg knows only to well.

As his team’s game plan came apart at the seams like a cheap suit yesterday, Bleiberg had the countenance of a man on good terms with the footballing Gods and their penchant for beauty and cruelty in equal measure.

There’s a bemused serenity that accompanies the Gold Coast boss on the touchline, born of life experience and a certain knowing delight in the absurdity of of it all.

You get the sense that Miron loves all of that. Football after all, is the madness he calls home.

Not that it doesn’t occasionally get to him.

Bleiberg is famous for his wry observations and occasionally he gets himself into trouble as he did after Gold Coast’s heartbreaking last-minute loss to Sydney FC earlier in the season when he referred to the referee as ” a homie”.

It’s just one of many moments where he’s provided top copy for the papers, and maybe that’s why he’s such a favorite amongst the press corp.

Yesterday it was vintage Miron. He felt it necessary to deliver a message mid-game, leaving his technical area midway through the first half to chat to Fox Sports sideline reporter Adam Peacock.

After Carlos Hernandez’s late winner for Victory, Bleiberg joined Durakovic and Kevin Muscat on the pitch for a post-match chat.

All three are veterans of the old NSL and greeted each other like old soldiers. They have seen and done it all before, had good days and bad and know that a win or a loss is temporary, that the game is forever.

It’s a special kind of madness that keeps them coming back.