There are Aussie coaches who’ve traveled and worked around our region. Then there’s Gary Phillips, Australia’s ultimate ‘have-clipboard-will-travel’ manager.
Socially, it was interesting in Tonga.
We’d be taking pigs to parties as a present to cook and feed everyone.
Pigs back then would roam the streets and backyards, basically everywhere.
FIFO COACH WITH ROOS
I worked as Director of Schools Development in Queensland during my Strikers days. I ran courses across the state.
One time I had to run a course in Quilpe, which is in the middle of Queensland in the cotton farm fields with a small population.
One of the farmers flew in on his plane to Brisbane airport on a weekend, I jumped into his plane and he flew to his backyard.
His backyard was his runway.
I walked in and there were kangaroos in the house! Obviously, they weren’t taking my course.
I then ran the course in his backyard for local farmers who wanted to learn how to coach and flew back to Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
"WE'RE PLAYING 4-4-2!"
I coached Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia's second division in 2016 and we were flying.
But with us second on the ladder and bound for the top division, the committee in their wisdom decided they wanted to change things.
They weren’t happy with our 4-3-3 system. They wanted to go back to a 4-4-2 and change our international players.
Which meant Andrew Nabbout and Joel Chianese - who everyone knows have gone on to do really well in their careers since - were sacked.
Our two leading goal scorers across the whole league and they wanted to fire them!
They wanted to bring in two new players. The Vice President of the club and major sponsor wanted me to front the committee and tell them it was my idea to sack the two players because I wasn’t happy with them and we wanted to change our formation.
So he took everything out of my control, picked the team, played 4-4-2 and brought in his own players. He told us when to train, how often.
I was a dead man walking.
I had a one year contract, I saw the season out but losing those two players for the squad was a major mind shift.
The squad couldn’t believe what happened. We finished fourth.