John Aloisi – Grand Final win as good as any Socceroos achievement

John Aloisi Western United

Western United Head Coach John Aloisi admitted that winning the Isuzu UTE A-League Men Grand Final feels as good as any achievement he had with the Socceroos during his playing days.

Coming from the owner of arguably the biggest moment in Australian football, it speaks to the gravity of the moment as Aloisi brings the first piece of silverware to the West.

“It does. It really does, because where the Club has come from – a lot of people talking about last year how it wasn’t a great year for the Club. It’s only three seasons old. To be able to do what we did, not only tonight but from the beginning of the season, it’s amazing,” he said.

United overcame Melbourne City 2-0 in Saturday night’s Grand Final, courtesy of a Nuno Reis own goal and a strike from Aleksandar Prijovic, who won the Joe Marston Medal for best on ground.

Aloisi’s side was counted out from day one. Nobody tipped the Green and Black to even make the Finals let alone go all the way, but the boss said that never bothered anyone in the group.

“We never spoke about no one believing us, it was more about us believing in ourselves. It was about us working towards something,” he said.

“We didn’t care what others were saying. If any of us did, I don’t think we’d be in this position because you’d be too worried about what people think of you.”

The victory takes Aloisi to the pinnacle of Australian domestic football for the first time, 10 years on from his first coaching post.

After having open heart surgery in 2019 and spending three years out of the game, Aloisi said his mind and his ambition was clear.

“I was sitting in my hospital bed nearly three years ago, and it was more ‘I want to coach, I need to coach because I know I’ve got a lot more left in me and a lot more to achieve’ – and I believed that,” he said.

While he admitted that it was a special feeling for him individually, he took greater pleasure from what it means to the Club as a whole.

“Yes it’s satisfying on a personal basis, but it’s more satisfying because I see all the hard work that goes into a new club,” he said.

“It’s not easy but this helps, success on the pitch helps you grow quicker. You saw how many fans we had there tonight, it’s great. To win this will help us grow as a football club.”

Aloisi is hoping to see that growth continue immediately, with the Champions label potentially attracting more players to join the Western United project.

He highlighted the impact of the key players that joined in the off-season and the attitude they brought to the group as soon as they joined.

“What I loved about the players that we signed this year, it wasn’t because they didn’t have anywhere else to go, it was because they wanted to create history,” he said.

“I spoke about Aleks (Prijovic), Leo (Lacroix) was the same, Jamie Young was the same, (Nikolai) Topor-Stanley was the same, Neil Kilkenny the same.

“It wasn’t that they wanted to just come because they had nothing else to go to, they wanted to come because they felt that we were going to build something special and we were going to challenge and create history. They’re the reason why we were able to do that.”

Aloisi will now head into a well deserved break having spent the majority of the season away from his family, before returning for next season with even greater ambition going forward.