It was that famous quote from Josip Skoko that, while summing up Talay's unique position within Australian football, is increasingly a mere blemish on an otherwise highly influential career.

Despite the fact that Talay never shot to the heights of Aussie football, the Sydney-born midfielder had a sterling foreign and domestic career and has proven a continuous influence over the shape of both the A-League and Socceroos since his retirement.

Talay is also, interestingly enough, a very close connection to outgoing Wellington coach Mark Rudan, the latter calling Talay his "best mate" and the "only one I keep in touch with" from their time at Sydney FC.


Talay began his career at Marconi Stallions before jet-setting off to Turkish giants Galatasaray at 19-years-old. The highly-rated midfielder was praised for his vision and excellent passing range - a trait he offered until the very end of his career some 16 years later.

The 2005 A-League Championship, 28 appearances and three league titles for Galatasaray and 10 caps for the Australian U/20 team were the highlight, but Talay played for a wealth of clubs across the Super Lig on loan before short spells in France and Japan.

Many will remember him most notably from his triumphant return to Sydney in the hope of finally attaining Socceroos recognition, but despite his 2008 call-up under Pim Verbeek, Talay never notched a cap.

He began to lose his deep-lying midfield position for the Sky Blues and after a year's sojourn to the J-League with Mark Rudan and Joel Griffiths, he eventually finished his career as captain of North Queensland Fury.


Upon retirement, he again linked paths briefly with Sydney United, taking his debut role as assistant coach of the NPL club before serving a long tenure in various assistant roles at the Australian Institute of Sport and with the U/17 national team.

In 2016, he replaced Paul Okon as the head coach of the Aussie U/20s. Talay's U/20 experience was a poor one - he took over for the 2016 AFC U/19 Championship and after winning his first match against China, lost to Uzbekistan and could only draw 0-0 with Tajikistan.

It was then the second time in a row that Australia had failed to qualify for the U/20 World Cup. He eventually left the FFA set-up to take on the assistant role at Sydney FC under Steve Corica, together they finished second in Corica's debut season in charge.


While Wellington's general manager is expected to hold a press conference with Talay over the next few days, chairman Rob Morrison praised Talay's passion in announcing the appointment.

’Ufuk Talay is a highly driven young coach who strongly believes he is the coach who can bring success to the Phoenix," he said.

‘’The club has spent a lot of money and resource in the Academy space and you can see this in the talent that is coming through. We wanted a coach who was going to drive through the group the desire to win, to play for the club and the city and to never give up. 

‘’We believe that Ufuk is that coach.’’

‘’When we talked to Ufuk it was clear that he has the same vision for the club that we have. A team that is consistently in the finals and challenging for the title.

“The club spent a lot of time in the off season rebuilding the values around the playing squad. Ufuk can build on that.

‘’He has enormous drive and ambition. And that’s something we value highly.’’