Central Coast Mariners boss Alen Stajcic admits he feared he might never coach again after the brutal way Football Federation Australia axed him as Matildas coach.
After being devastated by the Matildas axing, a spot in the A-League seemed unlikely to Stajcic.
But after watching on television as the Mariners suffered yet another defeat last season, this time against Wellington Phoenix, Stajcic took the call that would bring him back to coaching.
After the Gosford side were crushed in a humiliating 8-2 thrashing, coach Mike Mulvey was sacked – and club CEO Shaun Mielekamp got on the phone to Stajcic the next day.
HEAR MORE ON THIS AND MUCH MORE IN THE FULL PODCAST
LISTEN TO THE FTBL PODCAST HERE NOW:
"I've been a close friend of Mike's for 15 years and I was just hoping they would do really well for his sake – and saw it all unravel that night," said Stajcic.
"I received a call the next day from Shaun who I'd met only once or twice in my life prior to that and he asked if I would be interested, so you know, it was an opportune moment.
"I'm just extremely grateful to owner Mike Charlesworth and Shaun that they had faith to call me and give me the job, both short-term and now for a three year term.
"I think both the club and myself are in probably similar predicaments where we were at our lowest ebbs – and I had to pick myself up personally.
"And that's definitely the motto around the club, trying to pick ourselves up, from the front office to all the football staff to the playing group as well."
He added: "I've always taken the same mentality and same philosophy to the game wherever I've gone.
"I've always wanted to find the best for that group and best for each individual in that group to be the best they can be and for that team to be the best they can be.
"So whether that was the Matildas or the Central Coast or a kids team, I've never really wavered from that.
"Regardless of whether people think I've made good decisions, or bad decisions, or team selections or whatever, deep down in my heart, I just want to see football succeed and I want it to be the biggest sport in the country.
"That will never change and that's really at the core and foundation of what I believe so in my heart I always tried to do that.
But he admits: "I've been coaching now for 22 years – but I'm a rookie in the job in A-League terms.
"I'm learning every day. And as I said, I'm loving it..."