New Oldham Athletic boss Harry Kewell is unsure if there is an English prejudice against Australian football coaches, but has declared to take on the League Two job with an ‘Australian mentality’.
No Australian has ever properly made their mark in the cut-throat managerial stakes of English football, and Kewell is at his third club after brief spells at Crawley Town and Notts Country. The former Socceroo left Crawley to join Notts in 2018 but was sacked after just 14 games in charge.
In August the 41-year-old was appointed by the Latics on a one-year deal.
Asked if there was a bias against Antipodeans in the British coaching rankings, Kewell replied: “I don’t know. You’d have to ask the owners.
“The owners are the ones that pick the managers. For me, I’m like every other manager, we wait to get our opportunity to create something and hopefully have that chance to create something.
“I know it’s a ruthless job. I know it’s down to three points on the weekend and decisions can be made quicker than they were ten years ago.
“But for me I’m just here, I’m going to enjoy it and I’m going to express myself. For me, this is a great start. Don’t forget there’s four leagues lower than this.
“So for me this start is high. I’m shocked because this league here is fantastic. The players are great.
“Every job’s tough. I know it’s going to be difficult and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Kewell has pledged to lead Oldham with a philosophy that focuses on winning, not a specific style.
“We’re going to play a style to win,” he said.
“I have a background, the Australian mentality where we go out to win, we give it out best and if it works, it works, if it doesn’t then at least we know we tried our hardest.”
Oldham have had six different managers in just the past 12 months. Kewell replaces Dino Maamira in the hot seat, but has denied Boundary Park is a poisoned chalice.
“You can say that about a lot of clubs,” he said.
“There’s a lot of clubs, even at the highest level, that go through managers. For me it’s important that I concentrate on the games and on the three points.
“If you look too far in the future that’s where you get lost.”
The Latics finished 19th in 24-team League Two in 2019-2020. The club’s stated goal is promotion in the campaign ahead and Kewell is not shying away from the challenge.
“We’re working to get Oldham back where they belong,” he said.
“Anything can happen.”
The new season kicks off in a week and the Australian is pleased with how his squad has responded to him.
“From the moment I walked in, we are a small group but everyone here is pulling in the same direction,” Kewell said.
“I think it’s been fantastic, I’ve been at clubs before who have done the same and if you can get that community - we’re all fighting for each other. I’m happy with the players that I’ve acquired, I think they’re bringing something different.
“Everyone’s always going to be looking for that extra one or two players but I think the core is there and now we have one or two areas to strengthen.”