Terry McFlynn: “I’d like to see clubs have stand-alone facilities”

Terry McFlynn played over 200 games for Sydney FC, second only to Alex Brosque. After retiring from the game, he joined the staff at Sydney FC before heading west to be Perth Glory’s football operations manager, and he is also a Executive Committee member of Football Coaches Australia. Terry spoke to Soccerscene about his career, how the A-League has improved and where it can continue to grow.

Q. How did you become involved in football?

McFlynn: “Well, obviously it was back when I was living in Northern Ireland. I was an avid watcher of the game, and my uncle Mark who was a big influence on my career all the way through, I’d go visit him and just play on the street. At the age of 12 or 13, he took me to my first team in the next village to where I lived in Swatragh. So I got involved in the game at an early age.”

Q. How did the opportunity to play for Sydney FC arise?

McFlynn: “I left Northern Ireland when I was 15 to go to QPR, and I was there for 5 years. I dropped out of the Football League into Non-League and conference with a few various clubs and ended up with Morecambe, who had just got promoted up to League 1 now. During that period living in London, I met my wife Emma who is an Australian from Perth. She wanted to come back to Australia after being in England for a few years, at that time the A-League was just starting, so I sent an email to all the clubs asking for a trial and Sydney FC was the only team that replied to me and offered me one, so that’s how it all came about.”

Q. What were your impressions of Australian Football after joining?

McFlynn: “I’d come from the conference so I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. We had a lot of very good players at Sydney FC in season 1, like Steve Corica, David Zdrilic, Ufuk Talay, Mark Milligan, David Carney, Robert Middleby, and then after some time, we signed Dwight Yorke. We had a lot of very established Australian internationals and the standard was high. The coach at the time was Pierre Littbarski with Ian Crook as his assistant, so the intensity of training was very high. We had a fitness coach named Darren Welsh who previously worked in the AFL so the fitness levels were high too throughout the whole group. It was a really pleasant experience when I first joined the club, because of the professionalism, intensity of training, and quality of players I was training with every day.”

Q. Was the challenge of transitioning into a backroom role a challenge?

McFlynn: “It did have its challenges. I was fortunate because four years before I decided to retire I started studying a master’s of coaching education at Sydney University. I was preparing myself for retirement, and life after football. When I finally did retire I had a few different conversations with Scott Moore, the chairman of Sydney FC, and then had a meeting with Graham Arnold. Frank Farina had left the club and he was coming in as the new coach. We discussed life, football, the A-League, we hit it off and Graham offered me a position in his staff. It was difficult initially to make that transition from getting up for over 20 years to the training ground with a focus on a game on the weekend, to just a normal 9-5 job. Even though in football no job in 9-5. I was very fortunate to have people around me to help with that transition. People at the club helped me a lot.

Q. Do you think the A-League has improved in terms of professionalism since season 1?

McFlynn: “Yeah definitely. If you look back at season 1 of the A-League there were a lot of marquee players and younger players, unknowns. Off the field clubs have made a lot of improvement in terms of facilities, they’ve done a great job with the CBA (Central Bargaining Agreement) negotiations in terms of minimum medical standards, travel, and all the other things that add layers to professionalism in what we are trying to achieve. I think the level of coaching has improved, as the A-league has progressed, and the quality of recruitment has improved. We aren’t seeing older European or South American players coming here for a payday, we are seeing the likes of players like Marcos Flores signing for Adelaide, who was unknown, and they come and lift the league upwards. Melbourne Victory with Fred, Milos Ninkovic, Diego Castro at Perth Glory. In terms of professionalism and recruitment, it has improved since season 1. 

Q. Where could it continue to improve?

McFlynn: “I think something that if you ask anyone in around and the Football department of all clubs, its facilities. If we can get to the point where we all have our own stand-alone facilities because I think a lot of the clubs, not just in the A-league but sport in general across Australia, share facilities. I know that is a bugbear for many people in football departments because they don’t have access to gyms, recovery centres, and pitches when you need them. That is something I’d like to see across the board, similar to the MLS, where clubs have access to stand-alone training facilities and stadiums, which contributes to the revenue-raising part of the football business as well.”

A-Leagues secure last minute NEP deal for production partner

The A-Leagues have had an interesting past week, to say the least – as the league’s production partner for live broadcasts, Global Advance, was placed into voluntary administration.

This past weekend, the league managed to secure a last minute deal with international broadcasting and media services group NEP who will cover the remainder of the 2024 season.

The league just got the deal done in time, hours before Central Coast Mariners played Western United in an A-League Women clash and they were able to avoid an embarrassing Easter Thursday blackout.

The A-Leagues currently are understood to pay $12 million to Global Advance for production of all men’s and women’s games, the league is hoping to recuperate close to $1 million from Global Advance but it may be difficult.

Global Advance was established in 2020, its first major partner was the A-Leagues following the competitions’ split from long-term broadcaster Fox Sports.

Until they were placed onto voluntary administration, they had broadcasted every Men’s and Women’s match on Network Ten and its streaming partner Paramount.

The APL released a damning statement last Wednesday night that outlined the lack of communication from Global Advance regarding their financial situation.

“We are disappointed in the manner in which this has come to our attention, and the risk this has placed on our fan, player, club, broadcast and commercial commitments,” the APL said in a statement.

“We have been let down and will be working with the administrators to recoup monies owing to APL.

“Through a lot of hard work by a new production company, Ten-Paramount, and our team, we are close to finalising an agreement and are confident all matches will be broadcast, starting tomorrow.

“There are many challenges that such a short timeframe presents, but we are working through this urgently with all of our stakeholders, and we thank the production company for their co-operation, flexibility and expertise at such short notice.”

However, Said Jahani of Global Advance’s administrators Grant Thornton reiterated that there was immediate contact with the A-Leagues.

“We have immediately commenced a dialogue with the Australian Professional Leagues at the most senior levels to determine whether television coverage for all A-League men’s and women’s games this weekend can continue to be provided. he said in a statement

“At this stage, it remains uncertain as to whether this will be possible.”

It hasn’t quite been all smooth sailing to kick off the NEP era of broadcasting, with the cameraman being the butt of all jokes online after showing his phone notes to direct a message towards his director in the huge game between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in the Liberty A-League that had title implications for the Sky Blues.

It will be interesting to see how the APL can salvage this streaming mishap and produce some quality broadcasts as the finals approach for both competitions.

FCA President Gary Cole discusses glaring AFC Pro Licence issue affecting many top Australian coaches

The AFC Pro Licence is still not recognised by UEFA and this issue has been an ongoing battle for many years.

Despite professional coaching badges, years of experience and on-field success, coaches are exploiting loopholes in order to acquire these roles in Europe that clubs clearly believe they are qualified for.

Many top coaches like Ange Postecoglou and Kevin Muscat have battled through many obstacles like job title changes and being unable to take training or sit on the bench for matchdays just to accept offers in Europe.

Football Coaches Australia President Gary Cole discussed the frameworks that are set in order to fix this issue whilst also communicating the many obstacles in place that are currently halting the process.

“The discussions, I’m going to say started at least 5 years ago, Glenn Warry, the inaugural FCA CEO encouraged to Football Australia voraciously to work on that,” he said.

“The truth is that UEFA clearly don’t believe that an AFC pro Licence is as good as theirs because Australian-Asian coaches go to Europe and their qualifications aren’t recognised which doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense.

“Football Coaches Australia will try to influence Football Australia to push for change, it’s very difficult to get the AFC to do so but our legal team has sent a good amount of time writing to FIFA, but they don’t recognise coaching associations.”

David Zdrilic’s story is quite fascinating with the current Sydney FC assistant coach spending around $20,000 on a qualification that was not recognised in Europe. If you factor in flights and accommodation, the outlay was closer to $30,000 as he had to return from Germany four times to complete it. The FCA worked with  Zzdrillic through this interesting period where he worked for the likes of RB Leipzig and Genoa on different job titles to escape trouble. However he wasn’t the only coach to have troubles with this system in Australia recently.

“David was one of the many people that Glenn Warry helped through this process because it’s a challenge. Essentially what they’re saying is, yep you have a certificate that says you have a pro licence, but you need to prove to us that you really are a pro licence coach and that can take many forms,” Cole said.

“I think Muscat ended up, after having to sit to get around it, his club in Belgium called him a Technical Director and initially he couldn’t even sit on the bench for matchdays.

“They eventually got around that and they got to a point where his previous experience gets ratified because they sit down with him, interview him and realise this guy knows what he is talking about. They don’t give him a pro licence, but they give him a letter that says ‘you’re ok to work in Europe’.

“So many Aussie coaches go through it, Kevin [Muscat] went through it, Ange went through it, David Zdrillic didn’t have a pro licence, got a job offer in Italy and couldn’t accept it because his credentials weren’t recognised”

When asked if Australian coaches succeeding in Europe would help force the issue on this situation, Cole mentioned that there was still a lot more that had to done outside of that for it to pass.

“Success will cause change to one degree. Obviously if Ange succeeds it will say we have done something right but that’s a one off,” he said.

“When you start to add up the volume, so you’ve got Ange’s success, now Tanya Oxtoby who’s manager of Northern Ireland women’s national team but like Joe Montemurro they both got their UEFA pro licences whilst spending time abroad and that adds another string to the bow.

“Question is should we be encouraging Australian coaches to plan to go to Europe to get into the UEFA coaching course but that’s really expensive because you have to fly over and take time off work etc.

“We’d like to think no but the reality is today that it would be a better option for those who have the capacity and the willingness to work at that level.

“There are people working to try and fix that but given the organisations involved, I don’t perceive that it will be a quick fix by any means.”

It remains an extremely interesting discussion that has accelerated into a bigger issue in recent years as more Australian coaches start succeeding domestically and in Asia which leads to the bigger job opportunities in Europe that they aren’t qualified for due to this incredible rule.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend