It has been a big few weeks in Australian football. The news landscape has been largely dominated by Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic appointment, however one that has seen far less fanfare as been Harry Kewell’s appointment at Barnet in England’s National League, the fifth-tier of football.
Much like fellow Aussie Postecoglou, Kewell’s job is herculean. He is taking over a side that avoided relegation last season only because the six-tier league was voided. Barnet won just eight of their 42 matches last campaign so to say Kewell’s task is a tough one is an understatement.
Kewell has what it takes
Australia’s favourite son enjoyed a rather successful playing career with most fans remembering his time with Leeds United and Liverpool. His managerial career has so far has seen him enjoy a rather successful stretch as Crawley Town boss. Kewell’s most recent action in the dugout came with Oldham Athletic. He guided the club away from relegation and had the Latics in a better league position than the previous year which shows Kewell knows what he is doing.
Kewell has undertaken coaching jobs at Watford (youth coach), Crawley Town, Notts County, and Oldham Athletic, all were in a division above his now current job with the Bees.
Kewell spoke to Barnet’s official website and is excited to get the club back to where it needs to be.
“Barnet is a fantastic football club but we need to get the club back on the right path and get going back in the right direction,” Kewell said.
“The chairman and myself have put a really exciting backroom team together, with the view of a collective unit being the driving force behind a successful future for the football club.
“That starts with me as a head coach, but also with all of the staff, players, and of course the supporters, we need to be a collective group with the ambition of bringing brighter days back to this incredible club.
“There’s plenty of hard work to do to get us going in the right direction and I can’t wait to get started!”
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Hard work will be required from Kewell as he takes over a team that only scored 37 goals from their 42 league games while conceding 88 goals at the other end. So, Kewell has several problems to fix. Getting his side to play more attractive football to score more goals, while tightening up the defence that conceded over two goals a game across the campaign.
Kewell will have to call on all his resources as a manager on the touchline for the Bees as he looks to guide another club away from the dreaded relegation zone. Given that Kewell has been in the lower leagues for a couple of years, his knowledge of players and systems should hold him in good stead at Barnet. There most likely will not be much in terms of a transfer budget so he will have to be frugal in his attempts to improve the squad.
Kewell faces an uphill battle with Barnet, but it is one that he is capable of winning as we saw with Oldham. Everyone in the football world knows how little time managers get, so Kewell will need results and reasonably quickly.
Australian football has been making waves over the last two weeks. Our most prodigious talent is the next manager in line to see where his coaching abilities take him.
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