FORMER Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic has revealed that he wasn’t approached to become the new Socceroos manager despite being unemployed and available.
Speaking on Fox Sports’ A-League Hour, Popovic spoke candidly about the snub.
“I didn’t get a call,” he said.
“For whatever reason I didn’t get a call for that job. You never say no to the Socceroos or at least a conversation, because there’s no higher honour than that. And I’m sure when Graham gets his opportunity after the World Cup he’ll do a fantastic job and do it with pride as Ange did as well.
“And it’s a different situation now obviously someone’s come in on a short term basis for the Socceroos and hopefully we get the results there but moving forward I think it’s good an Australian has a job.”
The ex-Wanderers boss also commented on his controversial departure from the club, suggesting he hadn’t planned to exit on the eve of the season.
“It certainly wasn’t brewing for a while; I don’t think you can plan for that. It happened a week before the season started, we planned pre-season, the team was ready to go. And the team we put together we felt would challenge for the title.
“I put five years into that club, my heart and soul into that club. Very proud of what has been achieved there but that was something that just came up, as the Wanderers did when I was in England with Crystal Palace.
“I had no plans of coming back to Australia, starting up a club came up and I took the opportunity – a calculated risk and I did the same in Turkey. In terms of the job, obviously I’m not there now so in terms of that it didn’t work out but I don’t regret going and living that experience.”
Popovic believes hisnine-game stint in Turkey’s top flight with Karabukspor, following his sudden A-League departure, has made him a better coach.
“That education I had in that ten odd weeks you can’t buy that. It’s a different situation, in terms of a club is fighting relegation it’s had a lot of issues. But you always look back, there are many things that went wrong but you have a look at what you could control and I’ll learn from a few things there that I could have done slightly better or different.
“I believe that now I’m a much better coach than when I started at the Wanderers and I envisage being much better in five years time as well so hopefully that will steer me in the right direction as part of the journey that I’m on and I look forward to the next challenge.”
The former Western Sydney manager was also quizzed on the Red and Black Bloc and the issues plaguing active support in the A-League.
“It’s disappointing, in a nutshell, regardless everyone has their view on who’s to blame and if you speak to different people everyone believes someone else is to blame apart from themselves. But I think that as a whole they need to be not just a part of the club but part of the league, they bring something special. They feel they can’t contribute in the way they used to, I certainly appreciated their support while I was coach there and they helped us get over the line many a time.
“I hope they can resolve everything and we can get that active support back, not just for the Wanderers but for the whole league moving forward.”
With Graham Arnold off to become Socceroos boss, Popovic has been mentioned as a potential candidate to take over at Sydney FC – however, the currently unemployed manager has dismissed those rumours, while leaving the door ajar for an A-League return.
“No. I haven’t put my name in and that’s not to say that Sydney even want me as a coach but from a personal point of view that one won’t happen.
“I wouldn’t rule out the A-League now and I wouldn’t rule out overseas. It all depends on if and what the opportunity is and trying to make the best decision that you can do a good job in a new project wherever that may be and hopefully that’ll be soon.”