Kevin Muscat

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Kevin Muscat
Kevin Muscat.jpg
Personal information
Full name Kevin Vincent Muscat[1]
Date of birth (1973-08-07) 7 August 1973 (age 40)[1]
Place of birth Crawley, England
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Melbourne Victory (Manager)
Youth career
1989–1990 Sunshine George Cross
1990–1991 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1990 Sunshine George Cross 9 (0)
1991–1992 Heidelberg United 18 (0)
1992–1996 South Melbourne 73 (6)
1996–1997 Crystal Palace 53 (2)
1997–2002 Wolverhampton Wanderers 180 (14)
2002–2003 Rangers 22 (0)
2003–2005 Millwall 53 (0)
2005–2011 Melbourne Victory 138 (34)
2011–2012 Sunshine George Cross 3 (1)
Total 549 (57)
National team
1991–1993 Australia U-20 9 (0)
1992–1996 Australia U-23 15 (1)
1994–2006 Australia 46 (10)
Teams managed
2011–2013 Melbourne Victory (assistant coach)
2013- Melbourne Victory
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:47, 12 January 2011 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:30, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Kevin Vincent Muscat (born 7 August 1973) is a former association football player who is current Head Coach of Melbourne Victory FC.[2] Muscat earned a reputation as a "hard man", with his aggression and passion occasionally boiling over into some violent incidents.

After beginning his professional career in the Australian National Soccer League with Sunshine George Cross in 1989, Muscat forged a successful, albeit controversial career in the United Kingdom with Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Millwall. He returned to Australia in 2005 to captain Melbourne Victory in the inaugural season of the A-league.

Muscat retired from professional football in March 2011 after Melbourne Victory's 2011 AFC Champions League campaign, citing his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game.[3][4] In June 2011 Muscat was reconfirmed as assistant coach at Melbourne Victory.[5] Muscat briefly rejoined his former club Sunshine George Cross for part of the 2011 Victorian State League Division 1 season.[2]

During his international career, Muscat represented the Australia U-20 side at the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal and the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. He represented the Australia U-23 side at the 1996 Summer Olympics. After making his full international debut for Australia in September 1994 against Kuwait, Muscat represented the national side at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2000 OFC Nations Cup, 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Club career[edit]

Born in Crawley, West Sussex, from Maltese descent,[1] Muscat began his career as a junior at Australian National Soccer League (NSL) club Sunshine George Cross, making his first senior appearances for the club in the 1989/90 season.[6] He moved from Sunshine to the Australian Institute of Sport in 1990 and was awarded the Weinstein Medal as the Victorian Junior Player of the year.[7]

He continued playing in the NSL for Heidelberg United in the 1991-92 season and then spent four seasons with South Melbourne Hellas.[6] In 1995-96 he was trialled at Sheffield United under manager Dave Bassett but stayed at South Melbourne.[8] By August 1996 Bassett had taken the helm at Crystal Palace and signed Muscat to the south London club[8] for £35,000.[9] Muscat was part of the Palace team that subsequently won promotion to the English Premier League, defeating Sheffield United in the 1997 play-off final at Wembley.[10] Muscat made nine Premier League appearances for Palace before moving to First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers for £200,000 in October 1997.[9]

Muscat remained at Wolves for five seasons before moving to Scotland to join Rangers on a free transfer in July 2002.[6] He was part of the Rangers squad which won a treble of domestic trophies in 2002-03. Muscat's final British club was Millwall, for whom he played from 2003 to 2005. In 2004, he captained Millwall to the FA Cup Final for the first time in their history.

He missed the final itself after suffering a knee ligament injury in the semi-final against Sunderland, although the Millwall manager Dennis Wise insisted on him being presented with a medal. He left Millwall to return to Australia to become Melbourne Victory's inaugural captain in the 2005-06 season. Under Victory manager Ernie Merrick, Muscat, a defender for virtually his entire career, moved to midfield for the 2006-07 season. He remained the captain until 2011.

In February 2011, Muscat announced his intention to retire from club football after the conclusion of the 2011 Asian Champions League.[11] His decision to finish was fast-tracked by an "infamous" tackle he committed in a Melbourne derby on 22 January 2011, which resulted in a season-ending eight-week ban from the A-League.[12] Muscat played out his competitive career in the 2011 AFC Champions League under the captaincy of centre-back Adrian Leijer, despite having previously referred to the competition as "not all that enjoyable".[13] Muscat regained the captaincy for his farewell match in Melbourne, a 1-1 draw against J-League side Gamba Osaka.[14] Muscat scored on his return to Sunshine George Cross in a 3-1 loss to Altona Magic in August 2011.[15]

International career[edit]

Muscat represented Australia at Under-20 level at the World Youth Cup finals in Portugal in 1991 and Australia in 1993,[16] and at Under-23 level at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He made his full international debut in September 1994 against Kuwait, and went on to make 51 appearances for the national team,[17] including Confederations Cup tournaments in 1997, 2001 and 2005.[16] Muscat captained the national team five times from April 2001 and scored a critical penalty in the 1-0 home leg of Australia's unsuccessful play-off against Uruguay for a place in the finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Muscat was dropped from the squad when coach Guus Hiddink took over in 2005 and played no part in Australia's subsequent qualification for the 2006 World Cup, but was recalled later in 2006 by Graham Arnold and captained Australia in its 2-0 Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait.[18] In 2008, newly appointed coach Pim Verbeek selected Muscat in a squad of 22 A-League based players to prepare for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but he did not play in any subsequent fixtures.

Reputation[edit]

Muscat in 2007.

In 1996, Muscat was sent off in his first season in the UK in a match involving Crystal Palace and Norwich City after body checking Norwich player, Darren Eadie which then sparked a 21 man melee where punches were thrown. Two other players were also sent off in the incident.[19]

Muscat was branded a "lowlife" and a "nobody" by ex-England striker Ian Wright, then of Nottingham Forest, in September 1999. Wright claimed he was about to shoot when he heard Dougie Freedman, Forest's other striker, shout "leave it". Wright stepped over the ball to allow Freedman to hit it, but instead Muscat (who had, according to Wright, merely impersonated Freedman) appeared to clear the ball.[20]

Muscat was dubbed the "most hated man in football" by then Birmingham City player Martin Grainger in 2000 after a reckless tackle against international teammate, Stan Lazaridis.[21] He seriously injured both Craig Bellamy and Christophe Dugarry, the latter in a friendly international between Australia and France in 2001 with a sliding tackle from behind.[21] The French manager Roger Lemerre dubbed the tackle "an act of brutality".[21][22] It was speculated that Muscat’s temperament was the reason he was never selected for inclusion in an Old Firm derby during his time at Rangers.[23]

In March 2002, Muscat was sent off after just 9 minutes into a match against Grimsby Town for elbowing striker Michael Boulding. As Wolves went on to lose the match, Muscat was subsequently suspended for 3 matches following the incident.[24]

In 2003, after only 3 weeks since signing for Millwall, Muscat was fined and reprimanded by Millwall after a match against Watford where he gave away a penalty and was sent off for stamping on Watford's, Danny Webber. Millwall chief executive, Ken Brown, formally warned Muscat that he would be sacked if he did not "clean up his act." "Kevin’s actions were totally unacceptable. We have made him aware that such behavior will not be tolerated. Any repeat of such a deliberate, unprovoked, off-the-ball incident will result in his instant dismissal."[25]

In 2004, a lawsuit on Muscat brought by former Charlton Athletic player Matty Holmes resulted in a settlement of £250,000 plus costs in favour of Holmes, bringing the estimated settlement to around £750,000. Holmes had to have four operations on his leg following a tackle by Muscat in 1998, and there were initial fears that his leg might have to be amputated. The claim was settled at the High Court without any admission of liability.[26][27] In a League Cup tie while at Millwall, he grabbed the throat of Liverpool striker Milan Baroš.[28] Also in 2004, Iwan Roberts admitted he deliberately stamped on Muscat in a match against Norwich City in revenge for his attempt to injure Craig Bellamy in 1999. Roberts was subsequently fined and suspended by The Football Association for his comments.[29][30]

In March later that year whilst playing for Millwall, Muscat was red carded and suspended for 5 games for a challenge from behind on Sheffield United player, Ashley Ward which ignited an on-field brawl that involved most players from both teams.[31]

In December 2005, he was the first A-League player to appear before a FFA disciplinary hearing and was subsequently suspended for two matches for "violent conduct".[32] At an A-league game in October 2006 Muscat clashed with then Adelaide United coach John Kosmina, knocking Kosmina from his chair while retrieving the ball. Kosmina responded by grabbing Muscat by the throat, an action for which Kosmina was suspended for four matches.[33][34]

Muscat's dominant personality and aggressive style did win some admirers in the A-League, with former England international Terry Butcher stating "Every manager in the A-League would love to have Kevin, and I'm no exception".[35]

In February 2009, Muscat "escaped" further sanction by the FFA for stamping on Adelaide United defender, Daniel Mullen, while challenging for the ball. Due to the referee seeing the incident during the match, as according to A-League protocol, the Match Review Panel had no authority to intervene any further.[36]

In January 2010, Muscat was suspended for 2 games for elbowing Gold Coast United midfielder, Jason Culina, in an off the ball incident.[37]

In October 2010, Manchester United winger Ashley Young recalled he was threatened by Muscat during his first professional match as an 18 year old. "Kevin Muscat said he would break my legs if I went past him," said Young. Their meeting occurred as they were warming up for an encounter between Watford F.C. and Millwall back in September 2003, but Muscat was sent off for stamping on Watford's Danny Webber[38] before Young came on as substitute for Watford.[39]

In January 2011, Muscat was sent off for elbowing Adelaide United midfielder, Adam Hughes, in the face while following through on a challenge for the ball.[40]

In his first match back from suspension, Muscat was then suspended for eight matches following a tackle on Melbourne Heart player Adrian Zahra in a Melbourne Derby.[41] The tackle was widely condemned in Australia and around the world, with former Socceroo Mark Bosnich calling it a "disgrace".[42][43] The Sun described it as one of the worst tackles in football history.[44]

In a professional career spanning 19 years from 1992 to 2011, Muscat received 123 yellow cards and 12 red cards.[45][46][47][48]

In December 2013, the Spanish football website El Gol Digital named Muscat as football's dirtiest ever player.[49]

Coaching career[edit]

Kevin Muscat alongside Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in October 2013.

For the final two years of his playing career, Muscat served as a playing assistant coach under Ernie Merrick.[50] Due to a clause in his contract with Melbourne Victory, which makes him an assistant coach at Melbourne Victory for the next two years after his retirement,[51] Kevin Muscat began serving as an assistant coach at Melbourne Victory shortly after his retirement from football. After Mehmet Durakovic was sacked after a poor run of results, Muscat was appointed as the caretaker coach of Melbourne Victory until he was succeeded by former Ipswich Town and Queens Park Rangers manager Jim Magilton. In his only game as Victory manager, Melbourne Victory defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-1, with two own goals from defender Byun Sung-Hwan.[52]

After an underwhelming tenure as Melbourne Victory manager, in which he recorded just 2 wins in 12 matches, Magilton left the Victory at the conclusion of the 2011–12 A-League[53] with Brisbane Roar manager Ange Postecoglou taking the reins at Victory for the beginning of the 2012-13 A-League season, signing a three year contract.[54] After a relatively successful first season in charge of the Victory, in which the Victory finished 3rd on the A-League ladder, and made it to the semi-finals of the A-League finals, Postecoglou was appointed the new manager of Australia,[55] with Postecoglou departing the Victory after their Round 3 win against Postecoglou's former club, Brisbane Roar. Muscat was subsequently appointed as Postecoglou's successor on 31 October 2013, three games into the 2013-14 season, on a two year contract.[50][56][57][58]

In Muscat's first game in charge Victory welcomed the Wellington Phoenix FC, now coached by former Victory manager Ernie Merrick, to Melbourne. Victory went 3-0 up in the first half before Wellington pulled back two goals leading to a tense finish. Melbourne held on to preserve Kevin Muscat's 100% career coaching record.[59]

However, after that win, the Victory went through an inconsistent run of results, winning 5, drawing 4 and losing 6 of their 15 subsequent matches, with the Victory garnering just 19 of a possible 45 points. Highlights included a 3-0 win over Adelaide United, a 2-0 win over Perth Glory and 3-1 wins over Melbourne Heart, the Central Coast Mariners, and the Western Sydney Wanderers. Low points included consecutive 5-0 defeats to Wellington Phoenix and bitter rivals Sydney FC, the latter being a home game.

Due to the Victory's 3rd place finish in the previous season, the Victory qualified for an AFC Champions League playoff berth. On 15 February 2014, the Victory met Thai club Muangthong United F.C. at Simonds Stadium in an AFC Champions League qualifying playoff to determine who would qualify for the group stages of the 2014 AFC Champions League. The Victory prevailed 2-1, courtesy of goals from midfielders James Troisi and Leigh Broxham, and therefore qualified for Group G of the AFC Champions League, where they were grouped alongside Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande, Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, and Korean club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.[60][61]

Just a week after securing the Victory a group stage birth in the Asian Champions League, Muscat led the Victory to a 4-3 win over bitter rivals Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

In his first AFC Champions League game in charge of the Victory, Muscat oversaw a 4-2 loss to Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande, despite taking a 2-0 lead at halftime, courtesy of goals from defender Pablo Contreras and midfielder Leigh Broxham.

Just 3 days after their 4-2 loss to Guangzhou Evergrande, the Victory suffered a 4-0 loss to crosstown rivals Melbourne Heart, the Victory's biggest ever loss in a Melbourne Derby.

6 days later, the Victory defeated the Central Coast Mariners 3-1 at AAMI Park.

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Melbourne Victory (caretaker) Australia 5 January 2012 7 January 2012 1 1 0 0 100.000
Melbourne Victory Australia 31 October 2013 present 33 14 8 11 42.42
Total 34 15 8 11 44.12

National team statistics[edit]

[62]

Australia national team
Year Apps Goals
1994 1 0
1995 1 0
1996 5 0
1997 6 1
1998 1 0
1999 0 0
2000 10 4
2001 13 5
2002 0 0
2003 2 0
2004 3 0
2005 3 0
2006 1 0
Total 46 10

Honours[edit]

With Australia:

With Melbourne Victory:

With Rangers F.C.:

With Millwall:

Personal Honours:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/2006. Queen Anne Press. p. 291. ISBN 1852916621. 
  2. ^ a b "Ex-Socceroo and Melbourne Victory star Kevin Muscat signs with Sunshine club". Maribyrnong Leader. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Muscat calls time on 20-year career". Soccerway. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Tears flow as Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat retires". Herald-Sun. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mehmet Durakovic is named Melbourne Victory's new coach". Courier Mail. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Kevin Muscat". National Football Teams. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Weinstein Medal". OzFootball.net. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  8. ^ a b White, Clive (26 May 1997). "Muscat aims to collect honour at the Palace". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Kevin Muscat". football-heroes.net. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  10. ^ "Championship final 1997". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  11. ^ Muscat calls it a day
  12. ^ "Muscat confirms retirement". ABC News. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Muscat: Champions League? You're having a laugh!". Four Four Two. 20 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Muscat farewelled with ACL draw". Fox Sports. 
  15. ^ "Match details - Sunshine George Cross v Altona Magic". Football Federation Victoria. 7 August 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Kevin Muscat Australia". FIFA. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  17. ^ "Australian Player Database". ozfootball.net. Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  18. ^ "Socceroo 2005 matches". ozfootball.net. Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  19. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/CANARY+SPARKLERS%3B+Norwich+1+Crystal+Palace+1.-a061153449 Canary Sparklers
  20. ^ Cotton, John (22 September 1999). "Wright continues Muscat dispute". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  21. ^ a b c "Muscat accused again". BBC Sport. 12 November 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  22. ^ "Lemerre condemns Muscat tackle as 'act of brutality'". Soccernet. 11 November 2001. 
  23. ^ "Muscat sweats on Old Firm Fate". London: The Times. 20 April 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  24. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_div_1/1872852.stm Wolves 0-1 Grimsby
  25. ^ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/179486/Todays-top-soccer-shots.html?print=yes Today's top soccer shots
  26. ^ "Holmes awarded £250,000". BBC Sport. 23 February 2004. 
  27. ^ "Socceroo's $606,000 payout". The Age, Melbourne. 24 February 2004. 
  28. ^ Wyett, Charlie (28 October 2004). "Baros in Muscat blast". London: The Sun (UK). Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  29. ^ "FA charge Roberts". BBC Sport. 31 August 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  30. ^ "Roberts to appeal over ban". BBC Sport. 21 September 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  31. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/dec/06/match.sport9 Warnock calls on video of tunnel bust up
  32. ^ "Muscat gets three-game suspension". The Age, Melbourne. 13 December 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  33. ^ "Kosmina grabs a throat as well as points". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  34. ^ "Kosmina handed four-game ban". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  35. ^ "Why Butcher likes Muscat". Sydney Morning Herald. 5 December 2006. 
  36. ^ http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/96515,muscat-escapes-over-stomping.aspx?r=rss Muscat Escapes over 'stomping'
  37. ^ http://rs.442.com.au/news/121551,bleiberg-will-cop-sanction-sweet.aspx Bleiberg will cop sanction sweet
  38. ^ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article173484.ece Baros in Muscat blast
  39. ^ Lawton, Matt (11 October 2010). "England star Ashley Young ready to wing it for international boss Fabio Capello". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  40. ^ http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/194389,muscat-remorse-over-tackle.aspx Muscat remorse over tackle
  41. ^ Bossi, Dominic (27 January 2011). "Muscat gets 8 game suspension". The Age, Melbourne. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  42. ^ "Kevin Muscat tackle a blight on game". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). 25 January 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  43. ^ "World awaits Kevin Muscat's penalty". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). 27 January 2011. 
  44. ^ Lloyd, Jimmy (24 January 2011). "Is this footballs worst ever foul". The Sun (London). 
  45. ^ http://www.soccerbase.com/players/player.sd?player_id=9541&season_id=134 Soccerbase statistics
  46. ^ http://www.melbournevictory.com.au/default.aspx?s=mvfc_playerprofile_item&pid=258 A-League statistics
  47. ^ http://www.ozfootball.net/ark/Players/M/MR.html NSL Statistics
  48. ^ AFC Champions League ACL
  49. ^ "Kevin Muscat named football's dirtiest player". The Age (Melbourne). 
  50. ^ a b http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/football/melbourne-victory-unveil-former-skipper-kevin-muscat-as-new-coach-on-two-year-deal/story-fnk6pqha-1226749884875
  51. ^ Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat will retire after Asian Champions League
  52. ^ "GVE: Jets Must Be More Ruthless". FourFourTwo. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  53. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/football/interim-coach-jim-magilton-departs-from-melbourne-victory/story-e6frfg8x-1226315776836
  54. ^ http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/Postecoglou-confirmed-as-Victory-coach/47061
  55. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-23/ange-postecoglou-to-coach-socceroos/5040996
  56. ^ "Kevin Muscat confirmed as Melbourne Victory coach in two-year deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  57. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-31/kevin-muscat-named-melbourne-victory-coach/5060128
  58. ^ http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/kevin-muscat-appointed-victory-coach/77696
  59. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-04/melbourne-victory-beat-wellington-phoenix-in-a-league/5069082
  60. ^ "Melbourne Victory reaches Asian Champions League group stage". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  61. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/football/leigh-broxhams-83rd-minute-strike-seals-melbourne-victorys-progress-into-acl-group-stage/story-fni2wcjl-1226828264669
  62. ^ "Kevin Muscat". National Football Teams. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Paul Okon
NSL U21 Player of the Year
1991/92
Succeeded by
Steve Corica