GARY van Egmond would undoubtedly label the Jets’ 2007-08 grand final victory over the Central Coast as his finest coaching achievement.
However, being an A-League survivor is perhaps the more impressive accomplishment.
After Ricki Herbert’s resignation as Wellington coach on Tuesday, van Egmond is now the most capped incumbent in the A-League.
In five seasons of coaching, the man known as ‘‘Dutchy’’ has been in charge for 110 matches for 41 wins, 27 draws and 42 losses.
Herbert is the most experienced A-League coach with 159 games (57 wins, 36 draws and 66 losses) in seven seasons at New Zealand Knights and the Phoenix.
While Herbert officially resigned from his post to become technical football advisor, most insiders believe the Wellington owners became disillusioned with the bottom-placed side’s poor results.
‘‘There’s nothing worse than seeing a colleague not working in his profession where he has been a long, long time,’’ van Egmond said of Herbert’s departure.
‘‘He’s got a lot of respect in the whole of the footballing community.
‘‘It’s a difficult one and I was asked this question not so long ago. We all understand death and taxes are inevitable and, as a football coach, so is being sacked. That’s what comes with the job; you’re under no illusions of that.’’
Van Egmond is in rare company in that he has never been sacked from a senior coaching role.
He quit the Jets in 2009 when the club was owned by Con Constantine to accept a role at the Australian Institute of Sport then returned in late 2011 after new owner Nathan Tinkler sacked Branko Culina.
This season has been especially traumatic for A-League coaches. Of the 10 who started, only five – van Egmond, Ange Postecoglou (Melbourne Victory), John Aloisi (Melbourne Heart), Graham Arnold (Central Coast) and Tony Popovic (Western Sydney) – remain.
Ian Crook (Sydney), Ian Ferguson (Perth), Rado Vidosic (Brisbane), John Kosmina (Adelaide) and now Herbert have been sacked or quit.
Van Egmond said the pressure of success and trying to play attractive football was driving the high turnover.
‘‘All clubs are looking for success, and I think all clubs are getting to the stage where they want to see, right at this moment, a particular playing style,’’ he said.
‘‘This whole possession-based playing style is an extremely broad term, but again seeing that implemented into football clubs is obviously very effective as we’ve seen the best clubs in the world do it.
‘‘It’s not so easy in regards to the transition if you don’t have the cattle to do that.
‘‘That’s something I’ve probably been very lucky with from the point of the Hunter Sports Group, where they’ve given me some time right at this moment.
‘‘We’ve got a lot of young players coming through and we’ve got some senior boys.
‘‘We’re probably in the market next season for some more senior boys as well, and we’ve been able to have a bit more time to implement the philosophy we want.’’