Melbourne Heart FC’s Own Red Devil

It is often said that timing is everything, and in the case of Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Jesper Olsen, the phrase certainly rings true.

It is often said that timing is everything, and in the case of Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Jesper Olsen, the phrase certainly rings true.

After a decade at the elite level, playing under the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, it seemed only natural that Olsen would make the switch to coaching and follow the path taken by so many of his contemporaries.

But the former Ajax star resisted the allure of the dugout and forged a career on his own, entering the field of sports management and youth development as he resettled down under.

“Since I retired in 1992, the question has always been asked whether I wanted to go into coaching, but the timing wasn-t right. It was probably the time under Ferguson which deterred me,” he joked.

However, when Dutchman John van ‘t Schip emerged as coach of the Hyundai A-League-s newest club, Olsen ended his self imposed exile to link up with his former teammate.

Olsen said the timing of van ‘t Schip-s arrival was the ultimate catalyst for his decision to enter the coaching sphere, stating his appointment inspired him to undertake a fresh challenge professionally.

“I-m 49 in March and have tried everything to do in football. But with John taking the job here and knowing me and what I stand for in terms of a football philosophy it was the perfect opportunity to make the move,” he said.

“There have been a lot of changes within football in Australia and the Dutch influence is certainly one I know well and really like in terms of the way the game is played there, the way they talk about their football and how its taught.”

Olsen-s career has been heavily influenced by a number of football-s greatest thinkers, with time spent under Ferguson and French World Cup winning coach Aime Jacquet complimented by a playing stint alongside Johan Cruyff.

And Olsen believes he will be able to draw from his knowledge and past experiences with such coaching doyens in his role with the Heart.

“I think I can add a lot to the club with my experience and who I have been coached by over the years,” he said.

“You take something away from everybody you work with and (Ferguson) is certainly someone you would like to think you have learned a lot from, especially where he is nowadays obviously.

One lesson in particular Olsen drew from his time under Ferguson was the importance of forming a long term plan in developing a culture of success.

“They say the harder you work, the luckier you get, and I think that-s something you see with somebody like Ferguson,” he said.

“The successful people in this game have a plan, follow that plan and stick to what they believe in and I think that-s not only important in football but any form of life.”

“Speaking to John in terms of what is expected and what he intends to do, I believe that is what he thinks as well. That is why I think the Heart is a great opportunity for me and its exciting to start something from scratch.”

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