Ipswich’s A-League future gets coaching kickalong
AS Western Pride’s well-travelled technical director enjoys his Christmas break, future development is never far from his thinking.
While his immediate focus is on helping kids have fun while chasing higher level goals, the former A-League mentor is also mindful of the Ipswich club’s longer-term elite goals. That includes continuing to build its base as a future A-League club.
“You can look at our club and say ‘do we want to be community?’ or ‘do we want to look at being as professional as we possibly can?’,’’ Mike Mulvey said.
“And you look at A-League, it’s inevitable that we are going to expand and it’s inevitable that we’re going to have a second division.
“So if Ipswich Council, or Ipswich in itself, wants to be part of a national landscape, it’s a perfect opportunity.’’
Mulvey said Western United’s entry in this year’s A-League gave Ipswich renewed hope in the future.
“They (the Melbourne newcomers) found some money from somewhere, they haven’t got a home, they’re playing in Geelong, they’re nomadic but they’ve got a licence in the A-League,’’ he said.
Mulvey, 56, has coached overseas and in Australia for many years.
Growing up in Manchester, he came to Australia in 1982. He forged his coaching career at the QAS, Brisbane Lions and with A-League clubs Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners.
He coached Brisbane Roar to a record-breaking third A-League title in 2013/14 and worked with the Young Matildas at the 2002 World Youth Cup in Canada.
His other international roles included being a technical director for Sabah and Terengganu in the Malaysian Premier League in 2015 and 2016.
Mulvey is the first to concede coaches need to keep improving but not only for their development and their teams. He recalls the pressure fans can apply at elite level.
“I think a lot of people in the game, they watch a game of football and all of a sudden we’ve got 20,000 people at say a Brisbane Roar game and there’s 20,000 experts in the house,’’ the English-bred coach said.
“I was brought up in that kind of environment where everybody around in the café was talking about the football . . . and you see this now in Australia. The A-League has come a long way and we have got experts around every little corner saying ‘he’s no good’.
“And then you’ve got social media, et cetera, et cetera.
“What I’ve learnt is that we need to have that plan and we have to work towards that plan.
“We are going to make mistakes but what I’ve said to people is don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just learn from them.’’
While overseeing the Pride junior program, Mulvey also wants to assist senior men’s coaches Andrew Catton and Brian Hastings in whatever way he can.
“What I said to them is ‘you’re capable coaches, go off and do you stuff’,’’ Mulvey said.
“I’m not watching over your shoulder. I want to help you.
“If I’m there as a sounding board, I will be there at some of the sessions and some of the games, come and talk to me.
“And I said ‘I know what it’s like to be a first-team coach. I know the demands and know what expectations that put on ourselves and also what other people put on us’ . . . and you need to be able to deal with that.’’
A keen golfer when time allows, Mulvey is keen to step up his work with Pride coaches in the new year.