Last week’s public outburst made Marco Kurz’s position at Adelaide United untenable and ended even the smallest chance he had of retaining his job when his contract ends in June.
And rightly so.
He has been around football long enough to know how these things play out – firstly as a player and then as a manager. His decision to speak out against the club was surely deliberate and an attempt to force the hand of Adelaide United’s owners.
Adelaide United faces a daily challenge to get some exposure in the mainstream sports media and it becomes even harder as the AFL season gears up, where most TV and radio stations would prefer to discuss an AFL player running a personal best at training than give that time to previewing a soccer game – it’s just the nature of the beast.
The media team at Adelaide United are a hard-working, intelligent group, who know these limitations and do their best to get a positive story up within the restricted allocation they get.
When Kurz went out on the attack last week, he derailed that and basically threw his players, the staff, the owners and us, as fans, under the bus. It detracted from what should have been a good news story with re-signing of Michael Marrone, which has basically gone unnoticed. You have to ask if he already knew the inevitable was coming and he did all this to paint himself as the ‘good guy’ knowing full well Piet van der Pol would be caught off-guard after just returning from leave.
Van der Pol then had to issue a statement contradicting everything Kurz had said that afternoon. It was never going to end well.
We only need to go back a few years to see how a coach should be acting in this situation. Guillermo Amor almost never came back to Adelaide United after winning the Championship/Premiership double. It’s fair to say that, for a moment, Adelaide United was preparing to announce he had quit but he decided to return and see out his contract. He could have easily told everyone he wasn’t hanging around but he chose to keep the club and his team at the pinnacle of the conversation and expertly deflected questions about his own future.
Kurz could’ve done the same, but chose not to.
Many fans don’t believe Marco Kurz has been given a fair go by the new owners. Many more argue he didn’t get their support in the transfer market. I don’t prescribe to that theory. If you take the passion away for one second, you will note that Adelaide United is spending the salary cap and carrying the designated-player contract of Baba Diawara. They also invested heavily in the services of Craig Goodwin, who is arguably enjoying his most fruitful season as a professional
I’m not convinced that Kurz had nothing to do with the signings of Mirko Boland and Ken Ilso for example – both players he knew from his time in Germany. Surely they were targets he helped identify and coax here? At the very least, he would have provided some insight for Ante Kovacevic to make the deals happen.
Kurz has made some strange selection and tactical decisions. None more so than his continual decision not to play the abovementioned Ken Ilso in his natural position as a number 10. When Mirko Boland got injured, Kurz often played with three central midfielders – this turned heads at Adelaide United.
As recently as last week, his decisions left a lot to be desired. He started the game with three central midfielders again – Isaias, Boland and Konstandopoulos. New striker Jordy Thomassen spent the first half isolated against the Perth Glory defence. The team desperately needed someone who could link the play for the Reds. Kurz identified this at half-time and substituted Nathan Konstandopoulos but instead of bringing on Ilso to create that link, he moved Goodwin central and brought on Nikola Mileusnic. Within 15 minutes, Craig Goodwin was out of the game and struggling in the central role – as he has done nearly every time he has played there this season.
Kurz has also made some interesting decisions off the park which has left him at odds with the current owners.
It’s messy and ugly but he’s surely smart enough to accept his role in all of this.
Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is a co-host of Soccer on 531, which can be heard between 9am and 11am, Saturday on Radio Italiana 531.
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