Western United coach Marko Rudan has revealed he rejected an offer made by Football Federation Australia to coach the Newcastle Jets in 2015 after he was contacted by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
FFA had taken over Newcastle at the time after the governing body stripped disgraced owner Nathan Tinkler of the club’s license.
After terminating the contract of Phil Stubbins in May 2015, FFA were looking to give the Jets a fresh start.
Rudan, who was coaching NSW National Premier League side Sydney United at the time, was caught by surprise when he received a phone call from Postecoglou.
“I was having dinner at home and I got a call from Ange who was the current national team coach at the time,” Rudan explained.
“Ange said ‘what are you doing?’ and I said ‘I am having dinner mate’ and he asked ‘would you be interested in the Newcastle Jets job?’ and I said ‘are you giving it out or, what’s going on here?’”
“Part of the process there at the FFA was that Ange, as the Socceroos coach, had a part to play in the coach.
"I think some people didn’t like that or were offended saying; ‘how can a national team coach get involved with a decision like that?’ I looked at it as a positive because I’d rather a football person and a coach have that say rather than an administrator.”
Rudan divulged that the process happened “very quickly” and was invited to meet with members of the governing body the following morning.
After sitting down with former FFA staff, Head of National Team Performance, Luke Casserly, media operational manager Kyle Patterson and A-League chief, Damien de Bohun, Rudan agreed that he would take ten days to consider the offer.
“I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time and within that ten days I wanted to really look into the club and have a look at logistically what it meant and what I could and couldn’t do but I found there to be a lack of communication.”
“I was very disappointed in one of the guys that was working on behalf of the FFA which I made it quite known to Ange and to David Gallop at the time - I won’t name the person.
"I thought, if I was going to be working for Newcastle Jets that was run by the FFA and I am having this many problems in a short space of time, I can only imagine what the rest of the year is going to look like.”
During that time, Rudan was working as one of the chief football pundits on Fox Sports and coaching his boyhood club in Sydney United, while also managing his own development company.
“I’ve always said that as a coach, I needed people that believed in me and what my beliefs and principles were and the way I like to setup football clubs.
"I also know that a lot of coaches, because there are so few clubs, become desperate and they’ll do anything just to get a job. Fortunately, I am not a desperate coach, I wasn’t a desperate coach.”
The former Sydney FC and Adelaide United central defender confessed that he had been offered other opportunities to coach in the A-League but “chose not to (take the job) for different reasons” with his young family being cited as one of them.
“I was never a guy that was going to jump at anything just for the sake of it.”
Rudan’s debut season with the Wellington Phoenix in 2018-19 was touted as a historic success for both club and coach with the New Zealand outfit reaching the finals series for the first time in four years.
Following months of intense speculation, the 44-year-old signed a three year deal with newly inducted Melbourne franchise, Western United in May this year.
Lucy Zelic's full interview with Western United coach Mark Rudan will be published later this week on The World Game.