ANDY Lancaster has made a sudden departure from the Seaford United coaching setup.
The club icon emailed president Willie Lyn recently to tell him of his decision to end his coaching partnership with senior player-coach Matt Morris-Thomas.
Lancaster had a long and distinguished playing career at North Seaford Reserve.
He is a three times senior best and fairest winner and is the club’s second highest scorer behind legendary goal ace David Greening.
He also has served on the committee and only stepped down earlier this year from his role as sponsorship coordinator to concentrate on his coaching duties.
There is uncertainty over the reason for his resignation and the only explanation so far offered is that he is taking a break.
“It’s just an extended break and I intend coaching in the future,” he said.
He coaches a junior girls side at Seaford and plans to coach the girls under-15s next year but it wouldn’t surprise to see him take on a coaching role with another club despite his strong Seaford ties.
President Willie Lynn can offer no explanation for Lancaster’s decision.
“I got an email from him and he never said why he’s resigned and to be truthful I never went into it as you never know whether there are personal reasons behind it or not,” Lynn said.
“When Andrew sent through the email we got in touch with Matty and asked him if he was still interested and he said ‘yes’ but we haven’t taken it any further.
“I’d say Matty would be doing it again but that’s not been confirmed and we’d need to hold a meeting to discuss it.
“You can’t just have one particular person making these decisions.”
The favourite to replace Lancaster is former Melbourne Knights, Richmond and Langwarrin goalkeeper Peter Schwellinger whose sons Matthias and Jeremy are part of Seaford’s senior squad.
Schwellinger includes Frankston Pines, Old Carey, Melton Phoenix and Whittlesea United on his coaching résumé and Seaford is aware of his interest in coaching there.
Don’t be surprised to see him stepping into Lancaster’s old role as Morris-Thomas’s senior assistant.
In State 3 news Frankston Pines has confirmed its coaching staff for 2021 and as expected Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor has been re-appointed as senior coach.
The former Bentleigh Greens, Westgate, Langwarrin and Seaford United coach was first appointed to the Monterey Reserve job in October 2018.
Pines’ off-field link with a Fijian community group played an important part in Taylor’s makeover of his senior squad earlier this year.
The signing of four Fijian internationals, goalkeeper Aeseli Batikasa, defender Penni Tuigulagula, midfielder Savenaca Baledrokadroka and striker Tito Vodawaqa was a major coup for the club.
“The Fijians will be there next year,” Taylor said, confident that he could fend off approaches from higher-ranked clubs once the quality of the imports becomes common knowledge.
“We put together a very strong squad and I want to finish what we started.
“I’m confident that we are capable of achieving something next year and I want to be involved with this club when our new complex is ready.”
That’s a reference to the multi-million dollar facility development at Monterey Reserve due to get underway early next year.
When completed Pines will have the infrastructure base on which to build programs for women, juniors and all abilities.
Pines also confirmed the re-appointments of Darren Roberts, Li Nam Wang and Paulo Pinheiro.
Birmingham-born Roberts played professionally in England and his former clubs include Wolves, Chesterfield, Darlington and Scarborough.
He has played and coached at Skye United and Seaford United and his principal role at Pines is to assist Taylor with the senior squad.
Taylor and Roberts will be supported by Li Nam Wang, who has been appointed to the newly created role of senior technical assistant.
The former Dalian Shide (Chinese Super League), Żabbar St Patrick (Malta), Hampton Park and Seaford United playmaker first joined Pines’ coaching staff in 2019.
“We are delighted ‘Wangy’ has agreed to join us again next season. He holds an FFA B licence and willingly shares his experiences from the professional game,” club president Lee Davies said.
The final piece of Pines’ coaching jigsaw fell into place when the club announced the re-appointment of Paulo Pinheiro as reserve coach with the added role of senior football analyst.
Portuguese-born Pinheiro, 45, arrived in Melbourne when he was 16 having played with Union Tomar in his native country.
He played primarily in midfield and had two spells here with Springvale City then played with Portuguese-backed Port United before a knee injury curtailed his career.
Pinheiro has held senior coaching posts at Skye United and Seaford United and like Wang holds a B coaching licence.
Pines vice-president Victor Kumar was pleased to have retained his services.
“Paulo has expressed an interest in venturing into the field of football analysis. As such, in combination with his coaching duties, he will fill the newly created position of senior football analyst,” Kumar said.
“This role will provide the coaching staff with invaluable data-driven in-depth analysis of player and team actions, tactical trends and opposition scouting reports.”
In other news late last week Football Victoria provided an update on return to training and playing guidance for regional clubs.
This followed the state government easing regional restrictions to step 3 in its COVID-19 roadmap.
FV’s announcement stated: “Key community sport changes in step 3 for regional Victoria as detailed on the Sport and Recreation Victoria website include the ability for contact training and competitions for players aged 18 and under and non-contact training for 18+.
“There is also guidance around changeroom/shower access and spectator numbers.
“FV are seeking further detail from SRV in relation to some of the guidelines to ensure we can update the current return to training/play conditions. We expect these will be released next week.
“As part of any return to football, councils must also grant access to facilities and we anticipate this may take a few days to work through for each club.
“Please note that training/play restrictions remain in place for regional clubs, until FV publishes an updated set of return to train/return to play conditions and councils advise of their required processes.”
When restrictions ease for metropolitan Melbourne announcements are expected for FV’s plans for off-season competitions.