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FREE AGENT...Ange says he only agreed in principle with Brisbane owners after 2011 GF
WHEN Brisbane Roar and the club's temporary owners, FFA, announced five days after a dramatic 2011 Grand Final win over Central Coast, that championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou had signed a two-year extension, it seemed that the long-term prospects of the club were in good hands
But on Thursday, only four days after becoming the first back-to-back title winning A-League coach, Postecoglou was dressed in blue, not orange or maroon, as he was unveiled as Melbourne Victory's new coach.
So how did Postecoglou, who turned Brisbane from a disorganised rabble into a championship winner in six months, get out of a long-term deal and land himself back in his hometown with the biggest job in Australia club football for the next three seasons?
Simple. The contract was never signed.
Postecoglou revealed on Thursday that despite the announcement of the deal 13 months ago, he never put pen to paper, enabling him to walk away at the end of his existing contract.
"My personal position which I haven't discussed with anyone is that at the end of last year, the club changed ownership and FFA took over and I came to an agreement with FFA in principle to extend my time at Brisbane Roar for another three years," he said.
"But I didn't sign a contract, mainly because the club didn't have owners at the time and I wanted to be sure that the new owners fitted in with my philosophy.
"When the Bakrie Group came in we had discussions with them about formalising the arrangement and that was progressing quite well, but ultimately towards the end of the year I decided that a time for a new challenge had come."
Victory were linked heavily with Postecoglou 12 months ago, but chairman Anthony Di Pietro said the club had progressed carefully in speaking with the prospective coach this year, knowing he was heavily involved in the championship defence.
"We had become aware that Ange was looking for a new challenge. The possibility of that challenge being here in Melbourne was an attraction to both parties," he said.
"It was quite sensitive and difficult at the time. From our perspective it was leaving Ange alone to do what he needed to do with Brisbane and also showing the respect Brisbane to run their business and ultimately be successful.
"We dealt with Ange's management and once both parties agreed that Ange was interested in the challenge then we took that up with Ange's management and dealt with it."
Brisbane's owners, the Indonesian-based Bakrie Group, are believed to have no major issue with Postecoglou's decision to head south and the club has already appointed long-serving assistant Rado Vidosic to the head coach position.
However, their mood may change somewhat given Postecoglou indicated that he would be pleased to have Paul Trimboli, who holds the football director role at the Roar, on board in Melbourne should Victory be amenable.
When Victory became aware of Postecoglou's possible availability, there was a marked change in the attitude towards caretaker coach Jim Magilton, who had been considered a near certainty to take over on a permanent basis.
The Northern Irishman was already making plans for the future of the club, including cutting long-serving pair Rody Vargas and Tom Pondeljak.
But the mood changed quickly and Magilton left when he was told when he would have to apply for the job. Di Pietro defended the club's handling of Magilton.
"Jim was appointed as an interim coach and most certainly was a front runner and we were certainly happy with his contribution to the club in the time he was here," he said.
"Quite frankly, it is our responsibility to get the best person that we think is available and it was our belief in the end that Ange's track record demonstrates that he is the best person possible and available to take this club forward."