Image: Anita Milas
Former Socceroos captain Alan Davidson has been appointed manager of last-placed State League One North-West outfit Altona East Phoenix after replacing the outgoing Allen Vella.
The 57 year-old last coached the South Melbourne Women’s side in the 2014 WPL season before being named as Ballarat Red Devils’ youth football manager in November 2015, a role which never eventuated due to the ownership issues plaguing the regional based NPL club at the time.
He moves to Paisley Park Soccer Complex at a time when the Phoenix face the real prospect of suffering relegation to the state’s fourth tier of football, with the one-time top-flight mainstays currently sitting in 12th place on the SL1 North-West ladder with just four points in 10 league games.
Father of Huddersfield Town and Socceroos defender Jason, he is the third former national team member to be appointed coach of a third tier side this season, following in the footsteps of former club teammates Goran Lozanovski (Altona Magic) and John Markovski (Sydenham Park), with Essendon Royals’ Michael Curcija also an ex-Socceroo.
Born in Altona North to an English father and Japanese mother, he began his club career at Altona City before progressing into the national league with South Melbourne in 1978.
He spent the next six years of his career at Middle Park, with his good form at Hellas earning Davidson a place in the Socceroos squad as he made his national team debut in 1980.
A move to two-time European Cup Champions Nottingham Forest followed in 1984 although injury problems restricted his time in the Midlands under Brian Clough to just one season.
He returned to South for a brief spell in 1986 before joining Melbourne Croatia the following year and spending the next six seasons with the club, which included two Grand Final defeats.
Four successful years (1992-96) in Malaysia with Pahang followed before Davidson saw out his playing career with the Collingwood Warriors and Melbourne Knights, making over 300 NSL appearances in his 22 year playing career which included one NSL Championship with South in 1984.
An 11-year Socceroos career saw him earn 79 caps while also being a member of the 1988 Olympic squad in Seoul in addition to captaining the Futsalroos at the inaugural FIFA Futsal World Cup in 1989.
A member of the Socceroos Best XI, he faces a tough ask to keep Altona East in the third tier with the Phoenix seven points from safety with 12 games remaining and his first assignment sees his charges lace up to take on Keilor Park at Paisley Park tomorrow/today.