Melbourne Heart coach John van't Schip gave the biggest

John van't Schip: "It's up to other people to decide what they want, but I have told them I like the club and know the people."

Melbourne Heart coach John van't Schip gave the biggest hint yet that he wanted to be part of the resurgent club's future after the stirring win over Brisbane Roar, and there is no doubt that the man who has orchestrated Heart's transformation from cellar-dweller to form team ticks plenty of boxes.
''It's up to other people to decide what they want, but I have told them I like the club and know the people,'' the Dutchman said after the latest victory took his side to within six points of a finals berth.
Manchester City's $11.5 million investment in the club is already paying dividends, although there's little evidence of any hefty spending as yet. City will take its development of Heart slowly, and despite fevered hopes in some quarters that it would immediately parachute players in, it always planned to let the season take its course following its announcement as Heart's new owner on January 23.
While much of the speculation has centred on a likely name change to Melbourne City - although a state league side already holds that name - and a change of colours from red and white to City's sky blue (much to Sydney FC's anger) not a lot has been said about the likely coaching set-up as Heart gears up for its makeover.
Most pundits initially assumed that the Sheikh Mansour-owned club would bring in one of its own to spearhead the revolution. But why reinvent the wheel? Van't Schip is, in many ways, the perfect solution, and he's already in situ.
As a player, he competed at the highest levels, with Ajax in the Netherlands and Genoa in the Serie A in Italy, as well as being involved with the Dutch national team for the best part of a decade. In many ways his background is similar to City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain: the Spaniard played for Barcelona and for the Spanish national team and like van't Schip was mentored through much of his career by the Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who had a huge impact as a player and the coach at Barcelona when Begiristain was one of his players.
Van't Schip, as a young man coming into Ajax, was a teammate of Cruyff when he returned to the Amsterdam club in his final days as a player. He also played under him when Cruyff managed the famous Dutch side. Van't Schip has retained close links with him, taking a job in Guadalajara, Mexico, to manage leading side Chivas on the latter's recommendation when he first left Heart two years ago.
Certainly van't Schip has had a tremendous impact since replacing John Aloisi just after Christmas, inspiring Heart to pick up 17 points from a possible 24 in the eight games he has been in charge.
He clearly gets his message across well to his players and he is tactically astute. He is also not afraid to change personnel depending on who is playing well and what the opposition is.
City's desire to create a global brand and style, with all its teams playing to a similar structure, would not worry van 't Schip either, having progressed through the Ajax system where all the teams, from the juniors to the first XI, play the same style.
Manchester City has been at pains to point out it is here for the long haul and it will not do anything drastic and without thought.
There is a consultation process with Heart's fan base at the moment, where questions are being asked as to whether supporters would be prepared to countenance a name and colour change, what sort of style the team should play in and whether it should sign marquee players and Socceroos. The reality, given that from 2015-16 A-League sides will only be allowed to sign four foreign players, one of whom may by that time have to be Asian, is that City cannot simply bring in hordes of overseas stars.
The salary cap also restricts how much it can spend although it will be able to spend what it likes on both a local marquee (Mark Bresciano, who is training with Heart, would certainly be popular) and an international one.
The big advantage the UAE-owned club can bring is in off-field activities. It has pledged to build a state-of-the-art training and development facility and set up a youth academy. Not only is it likely to cherry-pick the best young Victorian talent, but it's highly likely that the best kids from all over Australia and their families might move to Melbourne if they get offered a place in the City set-up.
After all, youngsters from Europe and South America move to England to try and make the grade in EPL academies, so why not in Australia?

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