Jean-Paul de Marigny returns to Melbourne as Victory attempt to salvage season

Melbourne Victory boss Grant Brebner has dipped into his club’s celebrated past as he seeks to turn around its fortunes; adding championship-winning assistant and former Western Sydney Wanderers coach Jean-Paul de Marigny to his staff. 

A seven-time Socceroo, de Marigny returns to AAMI Park for what will be his third stint as an assistant with the four-time A-League champions; previously serving as an assistant to Kevin Muscat from 2013 to 2015 and, following a short stint with Newcastle Jets, from 2016 to 2018. 

During this period, he was part of the Victory teams that lifted the A-League championship in 2014-15 and 2017-18. 

But having exited in the aftermath of a championship win, the club that de Marigny is now re-joining may prove unrecognisable to him. 

The traditional powerhouses find themselves anchored to the bottom of the A-League table after their first ten games of 2020-21 with just two wins to their name and, by far, the worst goal difference in the competition. Last Saturday, it experienced perhaps the most embarrassing defeat in its history as local-foes Melbourne City put six past them at Marvel Stadium. 

Going so far as to stage a pyro-powered protest at the A-League side’s training session on Monday, fans have become increasingly disillusioned with perceived inertia and complacency from the club’s senior staff and board and the ongoing security arrangements at AAMI Park and Marvel Stadium that they believe is heavy-handed. 

Outgoing director Richard Wilson has openly questioned its direction under current Chairman Anthony Di Pietro and has begun the process of selling his shares in the club in small packages to fans.  

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For their part, those at Victory have remained largely silent in the face of the unrest, although Di Pietro told The Age on Sunday that the club was backing Brebner to improve the situation it found itself in. 

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Jean-Paul back to Melbourne Victory,” Brebner said on his latest appointment.

“As a team, we are not where we want to be. We still have time to turn our season around, but I needed to look at ways to drive improvement across our football program if we are to climb back up the table.

“Bringing Jean-Paul back to the club will provide support for myself and Steve, but he will also be a great asset for our playing group given the experience and success he has achieved during his coaching career. He also knows the club, the expectations and has in-depth knowledge of the A-League.

“Saturday night’s game at home against Adelaide United is an important game for our season and an important first step in earning back the respect of our members and fans.”

Following his last departure from Victory, de Marigny headed to Sydney to join Wanderers as an assistant to Markus Babbel – subsequently named as caretaker following the German’s ouster midway through the 2019/20 season. 

Although he was, after guiding the club through the hub-based conclusion to the 2019-20 campaign, permanently appointed to the senior role just three months prior, the Wanderers announced that they were parting ways with the 57-year-old last October: the Red and Black side unveiling former Jets boss Carl Robinson in his place a few days later. 

He is now set to return to Melbourne to serve as Victory’s first-team coach, the club earmarking his role as one that will work closely with assistant coach and one time Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean in assisting Brebner. 

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“I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to return and work at Victory under Grant,” de Marigny said.

“Having spent time at the club previously, I understand and know Victory and Grant very well. It’s a fantastic club and Grant is an extremely driven and hard-working person.

“I’m looking forward to supporting Grant and working alongside Steve to help drive the standards and expectations of the team.

“With a relatively new squad it takes time for the team to come together but I believe Grant, Steve and I can create the right environment to help us play the Victory way.”

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