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Sunday, May 13, 2012
Crook: I'm right man to coach Sydney FC

Ian Crook says he's comfortable with not being Sydney FC's first choice as new coach and plans to prove the A-League club made the right move in promoting him by taking them back to the top.

The Sky Blues on Monday ended their long search for a replacement for Vitezslav Lavicka, announcing Englishman Crook's elevation from youth coach to the senior job on a two-year deal.

The promotion from within comes after Sydney pursued and missed out on top coaching targets Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic.

But a delighted Crook said he had no problem being further down on the list of Sydney's candidates and was confident he could be the man to return the two-time championship winning club to the top of the league after two lean seasons.

"I'm flattered to be even included in a list of people and I don't have an ego that says I need to be number one choice," Crook said on Monday.

"I obviously realise the club had gone a fair way down the line with somebody else (Arnold) and that's fine.

"The only way I can prove to them I'm the right the right person is by what goes on out there on the field and producing a side that people enjoy watching."

Crook said he planned to get Sydney playing an attractive, high-tempo, possession-based game, learned in his playing days with Tottenham and Norwich, and said he would bring in new players to help achieve that.

Crook, 49, bring 13 years of coaching experience in Australia, Japan and Britain to the role, including time as a head coach in the old NSL with Newcastle United.

He was the Sky Blues' assistant coach under Pierre Littbarski when Sydney claimed the inaugural A-League title in 2004-05.

Crook left Sydney six months after German Littbarksi and linked again with him at Japanese club Avispa Fukuoka before moving on for spells as technical director at Newcastle Jets and first team coach with Norwich in England.

Since returning to Australia in 2010, Crook has worked mostly in youth development roles with Sydney Olympic, the NSW Institute of Sport and the Sky Blues.

He said the desire to assume the top job had been slowly burning away and believed he could return the club to its billing as an A-League powerhouse.

"It's just something that sort of built up inside of me especially in the last six months," Crook said of his desire for the role.

"To have the opportunity to come and work at what is I believe is the biggest club in the country....

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to take the club back to where I believe it belongs which is right up the top, challenging the likes of Brisbane Roar and Central Coast for titles, year-in year-out."

Crook becomes become Sydney's sixth coach heading into the eighth season of the A-League, following Littbarski, Terry Butcher, Branko Culina, John Kosmina and Lavicka, who has returned Europe after three seasons in charge.

His appointment was met with a strong list of endorsements with Sydney releasing a statement in which names such as Littbarski, former star player Dwight Yorke and Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill praised the move.

The Sky Blues had pursued Popovic after their No.1 coaching target, Central Coast's Arnold, made a late decision to remain with the Mariners.

Former Sky Blues player and assistant Popovic had been mulling over Sydney's offer this weekend but could now be poised to take the reins at the new western Sydney franchise after meeting with both clubs last week.




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