Montemurro made for Matildas, Kisnorbo Parramatta-bound?


The A-League All Stars games last week and the press conferences around them had tongues wagging as men’s coach Patrick Kisnorbo and women’s coach Joe Montemurro rekindled their relationship with the Australian media.

The two coaches, contrasting in demeanour and ultimately in on-field success, were in fine form as they shared their thoughts before and after the glamour friendlies at Marvel Stadium.

Montemurro appeared alongside Tameka Yallop at the pre-math presser last Thursday evening at AAMI Park, ahead of their open training session in front of an excited crowd. While Arsenal’s Jonas Eidevall had been cautious and reserved with his answers in the prior session, the instantly likeable Montemurro was forthright and relaxed as he was given the chance to explain his thoughts ahead of an intriguing test against a world-class opponent.

With plenty of light-hearted moments, firstly expressing how well Arsenal were coached three years ago – yes, he was the manager then – and then noticing that a reporter’s dictaphone on the desk wasn’t working, his friendly manner made everyone in the room engage.

It was clear that Yallop was enamoured by the man sitting alongside her. The inevitable questions came from the floor regarding his next move. Would he consider the Matildas if the opportunity arose in the future? Of course he would, but he was not going to comment on opportunities that were not there at the moment.

Joe Montemurro is one of the most highly regarded coaches in women’s football. (James Chance/Getty Images)

Did he understand the differences between club football and international football? No, club football is all he knows, and it would clearly be very different. The remainder of the press conference was directed at Yallop and Montemurro said he was honoured to be working with players of such calibre.

The unintended sentiment at the end of that brief conference was that this charismatic individual would be the ideal replacement for our national football team’s current incumbent when the time comes. Tony Gustavsson has been at the helm during a golden era of women’s football in Australia and, if the common belief that his contract ends after the upcoming Olympic Games is true, we have a ready-made winner to step into his shoes.

Remember how Montemurro announced that he was leaving Arsenal to spend more time with his family, only to sign for Juventus a week later? He did say that he was taking time off again this time; 11 years in a high-performance environment is a long time, he said.

Is he just marking time for the moment when the hot seat is vacated?

Cortnee Vine was to go on and give the coach a glowing endorsement in a hastily-arranged media opportunity on the streets of Melbourne the following morning. No current Matildas player has a bad word to say about him.

Now that Emma Hayes has secured the head coach role for the United States, surely the next time we see the highly qualified Joe Montemurro in a professional capacity it will be at the announcement of his appointment as Matildas coach.

Another coach between jobs is Patrick Kisnorbo. His appearance as the A-League All Stars Men’s coach did raise a few eyebrows, especially as his European managerial adventure ended in disaster at Troyes as he guided them to relegation from Ligue 1 and left them languishing at the foot of Ligue 2 in a spectacular turnaround of club fortunes.

He made his managerial debut on home soil, guiding Melbourne City to the premiership then to the double in a successful spell, before heading to France. His outward personality is very different to that of Montemurro. He gives off an alpha aura, he demands high standards, and that is sometimes what is needed in football to get straight to the root of the issue and make definitive and unpopular decisions.

Listening to the gravelly Kisnorbo, his voice shot to pieces after the eight-goal mangling of a low-quality Newcastle United team, his tone was almost like that of a certain Marko Rudan. When questioned about why he had only given Nestory Irankunda limited game time, giving a response that had ears pricking in the reporters’ chairs, he offered, “I think you’d better choose your words very carefully.”

An eyebrow-raising moment in itself.

Adam Taggart joked that some of the players were wondering if they would be ready for the game after they had been worked so hard by Kisnorbo in a double session during the week, and Irankunda himself labelled him a “rough coach” and said that he was bullied by him, even made to clear the tables after lunch.

This was all said with a smile, but Kisnorbo’s reputation as a strict disciplinarian, with a Brian Clough-like approach to man-management, was more than just suggested by the two exciting A-League attackers.

(Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

With Western Sydney Wanderers losing their coach recently in unfortunate circumstances and reportedly taking their time with their next appointment, has this timing been fortunate? Football fans in Australia all know that the pool of managers to choose from is very small, even moreso if we understand the financial limitations that the APL may be working under next season.

Somewhere in the near future, Kisnorbo will be in a job again, most likely in Australia, where he made his name. The profile of the departed Western Sydney boss has quite obvious similarities to the A-League All Stars coach, and this could be a seamless transition, now that the 2023-24 season has ended and we look towards the next exciting A-League campaign.

If I were a betting man, I’d have one or both of these in my list of exotic wagers. Except no, I’m a registered football player with Football Australia and I’m not allowed to do that, right?

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