Saturday marks one year since Mark Rudan was announced as the inaugural Head Coach of Western United.
The United boss has enjoyed some memorable moments at the helm, including derby wins, come from behind victories and more.
Here are some of the highlights of Rudan’s first 365 days in charge:
May 23, 2019: Rudan joins Western United
After a respectable season with Wellington Phoenix, it was announced that Mark Rudan would be the man to lead Western United in their inaugural season. Rudan immediately emphasised creating a unique identity for the Green and Black that would distinguish the club from the rest.
“We are very clear on who we are and what we represent, and that’s the west part of Melbourne and beyond, all the way from the West Gate Bridge.”
— Western United FC (@wufcofficial) May 23, 2019
August 22, 2019: The first friendly
In front of around 3,000 spectators in Caroline Springs, Rudan led out Western United for the first time. A pre-season hitout against Caroline Springs George Cross saw United come away with a 4-0 win – but the result was irrelevant. It was a new beginning for Rudan and football in the west.
October 13, 2019: Round 1 vs Wellington Phoenix
A return to his former club was first up for Rudan as Western United travelled to take on the Phoenix in round 1. A first-half goal from Besart Berisha sealed a historic three points, giving Rudan and United the perfect start to the season.
“Every coach in the league will tell you just how hard this place is to come and get anything. Momentum is good. Belief is important.”
November 2, 2019: Comeback vs Melbourne Victory
2-0 down to the Victory, United pulled off a miraculous comeback to win 3-2 at Marvel Stadium. Rudan reiterated the clubs focus on building an identity post-match.
“We don’t want to just make up the numbers and partake in the league, and that’s what’s most pleasing about tonight. As a coach, it’s beautiful to see. For everyone that turned up tonight in their green and black with the flags, well done to them. It’s their football club.”
November 9, 2019: The first home win
Western United’s first home win under Rudan came in round 5 against Western Sydney Wanderers. United again overturned an early deficit to make it three wins from its opening five games.
“I’m very proud of the football club tonight. Not just the players and coaches but everyone that has bought into what we’re trying to build as a football club. I thought we thoroughly deserved the win. It was a comprehensive performance.”
December 8, 2019: Two from two over the Victory
Western United came from behind to defeat Melbourne Victory for the second time this season in front of 10,128 fans in Geelong. A third come-from-behind win in the opening 9 rounds had Rudan pleased post-match.
“Today our first-half performance we did enough to win that game. And in the second half, we rolled up our sleeves, were very disciplined. Very structured in terms of our game plan.”
March 7, 2019: United soar into top six
Arguably Western United’s best performance under Rudan, a 5-1 win away to Adelaide United saw the Green and Black leapfrog the Reds into a finals spot.
“I’m happy because the players executed the game plan to perfection, absolute perfection. That’s 11 goals in two games. We wanted to make sure we didn’t drop our standards and that last week wasn’t a one-off.”