J-League's Sendai fires Australian coach Arnold


Australian Graham Arnold has been fired as manager of J-League side Vegalta Sendai after a poor start to the season, the Japanese club said on Wednesday.

Vegalta said on their website that the decision to terminate Arnold's contract after just five months had been taken by "mutual consent".

The 50-year-old was assistant coach of the Australian national side under Guus Hiddink at the 2006 World Cup and subsequently spent a brief spell in charge of the Socceroos.

Sendai, in the tsunami-hit northeast of Japan, have taken just two points from six matches this season and sit second from bottom of the 18-team first division.

Arnold blamed the poor results on having inherited an aging squad.

"Many of the older players were resistant to change," he told Australian broadcaster SBS. "I felt as if I was coaching someone else's team and in the end I have my standards to uphold. Things weren't working... and we agreed to part ways."

Assistant coach Susumu Watanabe will take over from Arnold as manager, Vegalta said.

"I'm extremely proud," the 40-year-old Watanabe told the club's website. "I'll put all my energy into getting results for Sendai and building a new chapter in the club's history."

Arnold had been scouted by Vegalta after leading A-League side Central Coast Mariners to the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.

He had brought several Australians to Japan, including midfielder Mike McGlinchey, Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and Mariners strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark.

Arnold's tactics were criticised in some quarters and the team's defensive frailties were again illustrated in Sunday's 4-0 defeat by Urawa Reds, which proved to be the tipping point for the club.

© (c) 2014 AFP

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Arnold sacked, surprising no-one. Vegalta have been embarrassing this season. They must thank Tokushima Vortis for being in J1 every day, because without Vortis, Vegalta would be clearly the worst team in the division.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Graham Arnold was on a hiding to nothing with this basket case of a football club. Nobody at the club bought into his ideas; Arnold wanted to bring the average age of the playing squad down by buying youth and developing them which happens to be his strength, and he wanted to move on a few of the over 30's of which there are nine and who took up most of Sendai's salary budget. The club has no scout, the guy in charge of buying and selling players is a former kit man of the club. All the players he has brought in are rubbish. Arnold wanted to bring in the best young talent in the country but was told by this former kitman that there aren't any. The club had no gym, the players turned what was once their gym into a games and relaxation room. Graham Arnold did the right thing and changed it back into a gym and rehab room. Most players didn't buy into his ideas, all the older ones refused to comply as they were set in their old ways and tried to alienate him by not communicating with him or even look him in the eye. Hence all the poor results. They wanted him out and now they've got their wish. I hope they get relegated.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mike McGlinchey is a Kiwi though.

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I think it's a case where they both got it wrong. Sendai is a hardly an advancement from a top A League club even though the J League is the best in Asia. As for Arnie, he represents old school Aussie "soccer", robust and route one. Nowadays younger coaches have A League teams playing "football" and that's reflected in recent Asian CL results. The scheduling still isn't ideally suited for A League teams but I'm predicting Brisbane Roar will win it next year.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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