The emergence of Mulvey
I first met Mike Mulvey in a quiet café hidden away from the party central of Cavil Avenue and Surfers Paradise.
I first met Mike Mulvey in a quiet café hidden away from the party central of Cavil Avenue and Surfers Paradise. He-d just finished a tumultuous season at Gold Coast United and I was in the Sunshine State to ask him a few questions about his coaching philosophy. That was two years ago and he struck me as a man destined for bigger things.
But I would-ve never thought that two years later he-d be lifting the Premiership trophy up the road at Suncorp Stadium as head coach for Gold Coast-s hitherto bitter rivals Brisbane Roar.
Not that I didn-t doubt his ability. Far from it.
Mulvey exuded a quiet air of confidence and clarity of vision over the hour-long chat over coffee. But this was a coach who wasn-t a former Socceroo or a well-known former player in our national leagues - in A-League coaching terms he was an outsider.
And with so few jobs available it-s a huge task to even get a job. Even his accent was more Manchester than Mooloolaba.What he was, though, was a coach who felt his time would come. One day.
He-d quietly gone about his business in Queensland since arriving in the state in the 1980s as a player (he-d enjoyed a modest career with Brisbane Lions in the old NSL playing against the likes of Ange Postecoglou at South Melbourne and alongside Bobby McSkimming, Steve Jackson, David Hunter and even a young Nick Meredith for the Lions).
He-d built a reputation in youth coaching circles since the turn of the new millennium with first the QAS then United-s youth sides before being plunged into the senior job at the club after the bizarre parting of ways of the club-s head coach Miron Bleiberg and the acrimonious split of owner Clive Palmer.
With six games left in that season, and the club in chaos, Mulvey calmly put in place a clear plan of action, as he explained to me at the time.
“We had a method, we had belief and most importantly, I told the players I trusted them; no matter what happens. I think this helps in self-belief,” he said at the time.
“We decided to simply concentrate on our game.
“My mantra all along was: players, preparation and performance. While everything else was going on outside [of the playing group], we had to keep them together,” added the English-born coach.
The players I spoke with at Gold Coast raved about Mulvey-s man management.
This tweet from current Wanderers keeper Jerrad Tyson summed up the feeling from the then Gold Coast squad after Mulvey moved on.
That, as we know, fell apart pretty quickly. And like Gold Coast Untied, Mulvey was the man installed to make sense from the chaos after a stint with Victory-s W-League side.
Now, the scary thing for the rest of the league is that Roar-s potential hasn-t yet been reached. Likewise their coach. Another dynasty looms.
And who knows, Mulvey could end up coaching the A-League All-Stars against Juventus later this year?
If so, it-d cap a remarkable rise for an outsider who is now the flavour of the month across the A-League.