By Keith Ingham
Massimo Cellino's message that 'you never know what's in a watermelon until you open it' about the new head coach of Leeds United was also mentioned by Cellino at the last press conference to announce the appointment of sacked coach David Hockaday. It is hoped that Darko Milanic, the forty six year old coach with a enormous amount of managerial experience and the trophies he collected on the way is given the proper means to do the job, that in my opinion never happened for Hockaday. He (Milanic) has a pedigree that excites this particular Leeds fan.
He was a no nonsense centre half at Partizan Belgrade who's career was cut short by injury in 2000 and went into coaching at his home tome town club MNK Inzola and by 2006/07 he was assistant to Franco Foda at his former club Sturm Graz. This appointment lasted only a season and he went to little known Gorcia, he led them to third in the league and qualification to the UEFA cup.
In 2008 he joined Maribor and enjoyed the most productive and successful of his managerial career so far. Within a year he had won the Slovenian Championship, the next season the cup was won. Milanic became the first coach to win all the domestic trophies in Slovenian football, quite a achievement considering his short time in the job. In 2012 he won the lot and was rightly voted manager of the year. He took them into Europe where they were defeated in the opening round but had the consolation of the Europa League group stages after the defeat. They won their 11th title and cup in 2013. The forth double in their history. In all nine trophies were won while Darko Milanic was in charge. Pretty impressive.
After his fantastic career at Maribor he returned to 'his' team in 2013. He had served them impressively for eight years, playing 190 times and he couldn't turn down the chance of returning as Head Coach. During his first season they finished fifth and were knocked out of the Europa league in the qualifying rounds.
In his press conference in Leeds he said that Leeds were rated as still a top club and he was looking forward to the challenge of his first job in England. He has watched recent games and is impressed by the players he has inherited.
This was the recruitment that had to be correct and without doubt the quiet spoken Slovenian will listen to advice from Neil Redfearn but as he said he is his own man and the team will play his way. In the past he's a 4-4-2 man but has also been known to go with a 4-2-3-1. Either way he likes to entertain but is known for his work with his defenders, tight in defence and sparkling up front will impress the locals in the Theatre of Hope.
I wish Darko Milanic and his assistant all the best and hope he continues where Neil Redfearn left off, it's certainly been a lot better recently, than it was under Hockaday's short reign.
This Darko side could lead to a brighter future.
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