Zane stays on as Merrick’s assistant RIGHT-HAND MAN: Clayton Zane coaching the first team last month after Mark Jones’ sacking. Picture: Simone De Peak
TweetFacebookAssistant coach Clayton Zane hopes the Jets will give new manager Ernie Merrick time to rebuild the club rather than look for a “quick fix”.
The 39-year-old former Socceroo has been told he will stay on as Merrick’s assistant with the senior team, a position he has filled since head coach Scott Miller and deputy Luca Trani were dismissed in September.
Zane joined the club in 2011 as women’s coach, took over the youth team in 2012 then was appointed interim head coach after Gary van Egmond’s sacking in 2014.
He resumed the assistant’s job under Phil Stubbins before being shown the door with two other coaches and five players in early 2015 in the dying embers of Nathan Tinkler’s regime.
He returned to the Jets that year as youth coach and has been juggling that role with the A-League assistant’s job for the past eight months.
Zane’s roller-coaster ride at the Jets reflects the club’s tumultuous recent history, whose latest chapter was the sacking of Mark Jones after his sidefinished with the wooden spoon last month.
Zane saidhe hoped Merrick’s appointment would herald a new era of stability at the club.
“I was upset to see Mark Jones leave the club because I enjoyed working with him and I learned from him,” he said. “I think he was working towards something, and the A-League doesn’t give coaches a lot of time to get things right. I could see where he wanted to take the club.
“Partly getting judged on results also comes back to other people’s failures as well, because it adds more pressure to the next person who steps into that job.
“I’d love to see the Jets have a coach for four or five years and really get the chance to put their spin on things and develop the club from the bottom up.”
Zane was head coach when the Jets flogged Merrick’s understrength Wellington side 5-0 at Hunter Stadium in 2014, but that does not seem to have counted against him this week.
“The feedback I’ve receivedis that Ernie is happy . . . to work alongside me,” Zane said. “Ernie’s said he’s happy to inherit the staff. For me it was just a waiting game to see if he wanted to go down that path.”
Zane said he expected the 64-year-old Scotsman to bring a calm and “calculated”approach to the club.
“I know he’s an educated man, and through his experience he doesn’t react on the basis of one loss.
“He looks to me like he’s pretty methodical with how he approaches things, and he has a plan and he sticks to the plan. He’s not fazed by a run of one or two losses. He knows that, if he keeps going through the process, he’ll get to the solution he wants.”
Zane, a former Newcastle and Anderlecht striker, said Merrick’s experience in the A-League gave him a “massive advantage” over other prospective coaches from overseas due to the scouting responsibilities that came with the job at the Jets.
“The resources of the club effectively hand that job straight back to the head coach, and it’s a time-consuming job. And that’s where I think having someone with experience of the league is very important.
“He picks up that list of off-contract A-League players, and how that looks for one coach, it may look different to another coach. Someone might see a gem in there that they know they can work with. Another coach may not see that who’s not from the area.
“Most punters and coaches can see a decent player, but quite often there’s an expense attached to that that the owner has to be willing to back, so that’ll be interesting how he works with Martin [Lee] to secure those two or three players that can make the difference.”