Central Coast Mariners have appointed Alen Stajcic as caretaker coach for the remainder of this season.
The surprise announcement comes following Mike Mulvey's dismissal at 1am on Sunday morning just a few hours after he saw his side crushed 8-2 at home by Wellington Phoenix.
And it's a route back into football for Stajcic after he was dramatically sacked in January which plunged Australian football into crisis as the FFA struggled to explain their reasons for axing him.
The move into men's football follows a successful career in the women's game where he won the W-League Coach of the Year award twice (2010/11 & 2013/14) during his time with Sydney FC.
Stajcic’s successful spell at Sydney FC was also recognised with an induction to the Club’s Hall of Fame. He went on to take the Matildas to be ranked fourth in the world during his five year era in charge, and one of the favourites for this year's World Cup before the axe fell.
Amongst his list of accolades as a Head Coach are also Coach of the Year honours at the prestigious 2017 AIS Sport Performance Awards and nomination for FIFA Coach of the Year in 2018.
With six Mariners' games remaining this season, Stajcic’s reign begins immediately.
This morning, ahead of a lunchtime media conference, Stajcic spoke about his new challenge.
“I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners for providing me this opportunity,” Stajcic said. “This is a club with a very rich history, which is something that everyone is committed to restoring.
“We’re well aware of the hard work ahead of us, but that starts now. I relish a challenge and can’t wait to get started."
Central Coast Mariners Sporting Director Mike Phelan welcomed Alen to the club and outlined the focus of the next six weeks.
“Speaking with Alen and the board, there are two key elements we need to ensure over the next six weeks – that’s stability and harmony," said Phelan.
“Alen is an experienced coach, he has experience at the highest level coaching his country and is held in high esteem for what he achieved on the international stage.
“What we need right now is a manager who can take the helm during a crucial period. We recognise the skills Alen has and the club is confident that he will be able to draw on those skills for the advantage of the Mariners.
“His role is to stabilise, bring everyone together – that includes the players and the staff. He will see us through until the end of the season and help position the football club going forward.
“At the end of the season, we will assess the situation but Alen’s role at the moment is to generate some momentum leading into the back end of the season – we will discuss the future during that time, and at the end of that time.”