Following a second heavy Melbourne Derby defeat at the hands of Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory have announced that head coach Grant Brebner had been relieved of his duties.
Many felt his time had come after the Victory suffered a 6 – 0 loss just over a month ago, but the club stood by the manager, releasing a public statement giving him their full backing. Brebner’s men managed to pick up some points in the games that followed, including a shock draw over the then league leading Central Coast Mariners, but another abysmal performance that saw their cross town rivals out seven unanswered goals past a ten man Victory side proved to be the final straw.
The writing was on the wall when the club refused to speak to Fox Sports cameras after the match, and after a long wait, chairman Anthony Di Pietro and Brebner finally emerged to inform media gathered for the post match press conference that the Scotsman would no longer continue in his role.
Brebner initially took charge at the end of last season as caretaker, and stated publicly he had no intention of applying for the role on a permanent basis as he lacked the experience. Despite these comments, and the fact that the Victory won just one of the five games under his stewardship, the club named him manager ahead of the commencement of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Performances have been truly abysmal this season, and the club remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder after picking up just three wins. Multiple league and championship winners, the aggregate 13 – 0 demolition in the recent Melbourne Derbies show just how far the club have fallen from their once heady heights.
You have to feel sorry for Grant Brebner. The former Hibernian and Dundee United midfielder is a club legend, playing over 120 games and lifting two championships with the Victory, before spending six years developing the next generation of talent as part of the club’s academy. It was clear to see he was out of his depth, but the firing, while understandable, feels like a poor attempt to make him a scapegoat for wider failings and brings a horrible end to a 12-year tenure at the club.
Brebner’s appointment has been the latest mistake in a long line of poor decisions from the clubs hierarchy, and fans will be looking for further shake-ups behind the scenes to prevent further damage to the legacy of the A-League’s second most successful club.
While chairman Di Pietro refused to be drawn on whether Brebner would return to an academy coaching role, he did confirm to the media that former Blackburn manager Steve Kean and recently arrived Jean-Paul de Marigny, who were part of Brebner’s coaching staff, will remain employed by the club.
The duo are expected to take charge on an interim basis ahead of the Victory’s home fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday.