A-League winning coach Mike Mulvey lands BEC Tero Sasana job
Former A-League winning head coach Mike Mulvey insists that the ambition shown by the owners of Thai League (T1) side BEC Tero Sasana convinced him to take on the challenge of managing the one-time AFC Champions League (ACL) finalists.
Mulvey, who took Brisbane Roar to the A-League title in 2013, replaces Uthai Boonmoh, who was dismissed last week following a run of five games without a win. Tero sit in 10th place in T1, but recent form convinced the club's directors that action was required to prevent the team from slipping towards the relegation zone.
"This is an opportunity that excites me because of the vision of the people involved," Mulvey told ESPN FC. "I share their excitement about what can be achieved. Right now, the club is in mid-table. They've lost a few games and probably should have more points than they have.
"My job now is to meet the players, gain their trust and you do that by working with them and speaking with them. I'll be doing that from tomorrow in our training camp and I'm really looking forward to it."
The Manchester-born Australian has kept a close eye on the Thai game since his most recent stint in management with Terangganu in the Malaysia Super League ended last year. And he had first-hand experience of Thai football when his Brisbane Roar side faced Buriram United in an ACL playoff in 2013 and lost in a penalty shootout. The Thai side went on the reach the quarter final that year.
"The Australian media asked for my thoughts on the game before Thailand played Australia in the World Cup qualifier last year," said Mulvey. "I told them that Australia needed to be well prepared because Thai players have very good technical and physical ability. And, this was proved to be the case in the game as Australia were lucky to get away with a 2-2 draw.
"When I brought Brisbane to play Buriram United in the Champions League in Thailand a few years ago, I was very impressed by the level of football, and Buriram have gone on to be very successful."
Tero were a major force in Thai football in the early 2000s as they won the Thai Premier League in 2000 and 2002 before going all the way to the ACL final in 2003. However, since the league went national in 2007, the Bangkok-based club have become more peripheral, despite the involvement of big names like Sven-Goran Eriksson and Avram Grant.
Their League Cup win in 2014 has been their only silverware of the last decade and they have seen their best young talents like Chanathip Songkrasin, Tanaboon Kesarat and Tristan Do move on. Tero have also seen their fan base suffer due to several stadium moves and their existence was under threat before a merger with Police United this year. But Mulvey is undeterred by the turbulent recent history of the club
"Like any league in the world, there is a top, a middle and a bottom," said Mulvey. "Right now, this team is in the middle and if we want to get to the top half of the table and then the top six, we've got to work hard. The club has promised me the resources and the support and I think we are already building a good relationship."
Mulvey, 54, first coached in Southeast Asia with Malaysian club Sabah in 2016 before joining Terengganu the following year. He had been linked to a couple of Thai clubs last October after visiting Bangkok.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK