Since the City Football Group takeover, Melbourne City have been on a steadily upwards trajectory. The progress has sometimes been slow, but it has always been constant. The playing squad has been gradually overhauled, with an influx of genuine top-class talent combined with far greater strength in depth.
There have been off-field changes, too, with the construction of the highly impressive City Football Academy, investment in backroom staff and clear improvements in the many other components of a football club, such as social media and marketing.
The other constant besides change amidst all this upheaval has been the first team coach, John van’t Schip. This is his second stint at the club, having been the original coach in their first incarnation as Melbourne Heart. Returning in December 2013 – just a month before the City takeover – following the sacking of John Aloisi, he was handed a new contract by the contemporary ownership who were keen to maintain stability on the training pitch.
In his time in the A-League, Van’t Schip has been one of the A-League’s most fascinating managers. In his first tenure, he regularly switched between back three and back four systems, often adapting in accordance to how many attackers the opposition fielded.