Grant Brebner will become Melbourne Victory’s third Head Coach of the 2019/20 A-League season after being named as interim boss of the club on Thursday.
Previously elevated to an assistant’s role after Carlos Salvachúa took over as interim boss following the sacking of Marco Kurz in January, the Spaniard’s decision to resign and return home to Europe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic means the two-time Championship winner will now be in charge for Victory’s five remaining games.
Victory W-League Head Coach Jeff Hopkins will be temporarily assigned to the men’s program to serve as Brebner’s assistant.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the Club with numerous, unexpected hurdles, but our people continue to respond to the challenge,” Victory CEO Trent Jacobs said.
“Grant Brebner and Jeff Hopkins are excited about the opportunity to oversee the A-League program for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.
“Grant and Jeff know our players well, and we want the transition to be as seamless as possible. Their priority will be to get the team to the fitness level required to perform, once the season resumes in mid-July.”
Victory is set to return to the training track next week ahead of the A-League’s mooted return in July, which will see them play Western United at AAMI Park before heading to a proposed Sydney-based hub for fixtures against Western Sydney, Central Coast, Perth Glory, and Brisbane Roar.
Victory sits tenth on the A-League table heading into the A-League’s run home, with the seven-point gap between themselves and sixth-placed Western United meaning their finals chances all but gone.
“It’s obviously been a challenging few months, so it’s great to get back to work and start preparing to play football again,” Brebner said.
“This season hasn’t unfolded as planned, but over the coming months the focus for the team will be to enjoy what we do and play tough attacking football, which is what our members and fans expect.
“This was the philosophy drummed into me as a Victory player, and I really want our players to play with freedom and embrace the brand of football our Club has been known for over the past 15 years.
“We have a great opportunity over the coming months to lay some strong foundations which the next Head Coach can then build on next season.”
Victory officially began the search for their next Head Coach last month, with CEO Jacobs not ruling out the possibility that a foreign appointee – despite the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel – could be pursued.
Domestic names linked to the role since the search began include Tony Popovic and John Aloisi.
“With respect to the search for our next A-League Head Coach, the recruitment process is progressing and remains on track. We will provide a further update in due course,” Jacobs said on Thursday.
“It is not our intention for the successful candidate to be involved in the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, therefore they will be officially taking over in preparation for the commencement of the 2020/21 pre-season.”