Cklamovski’s message after club-altering Montedio journey is cut short: ‘I’ll do it again wherever I go next’

Football is a fickle industry. It was only in February that KEEPUP sat down with Peter Cklamovski to preview the new J2 League season in Japan. He was plotting a football “miracle that would last a lifetime”.

Fast forward to this week and the Australian head coach was sensationally sacked by Montedio Yamagata after seven rounds.

Cklamovski – Ange Postecoglou’s trusted former assistant who was alongside the trailblazer for the Socceroos’ 2015 AFC Asian Cup triumph and Yokohama F.Marinos’ drought-ending J1 League success four years ago – had turned turned the club from relegation candidates in 2021 to promotion hopefuls.

But after consecutive wins to begin 2023, new-look Montedio had lost five consecutive matches. They do however have exactly the same number of points as last season while dealing with key departures and two significant absences.

He leaves Montedio with the highest win percentage of any manager in their history.

“Unfortunately my time got cut short this season, which I’m disappointed about as I believe I would’ve created something special again if given time to build a new team, which I also feel I deserved based on my body of work here,” the 44-year-old, who was the first foreign manager in the club’s history, told KEEPUP.


Cklamovski had changed the DNA of Montedio with his unrelenting emphasis on an high-octane style of attacking football.

Just look at the responses to the announcement of his departure via Twitter on Tuesday and it provides a clear understanding of the cultural shift under Cklamovski – a stark contrast to the historic approach of defensive football.

Montedio were staring at relegation during the 2021 season before the ex-Perth Glory, Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory coach came to their rescue. Suddenly, the threat of demotion to Japan’s third tier turned to the dream of making it back to J1.

Despite limited resources, they continued to go from strength to strength and he came into the season hot off a campaign that almost yielded promotion.

Montedio ended 2022 with just one defeat in their final 10 matches to snatch the sixth and final play-off spot. It was done playing mesmerising football, despite injuries and a chaotic schedule.

They reached the second round of the play-offs but drew 2-2, meaning Roasso Kumamoto advanced to the deciding play-off with their higher finish during the regular season.

To start 2023, Montedio last a number of key personnel. Academy player Riku Handa was sold to Gamba Osaka for approximately US$1million, while Kota Yamada was prised away by Kashiwa Reysol for a similar fee. Kosuke Yamazaki was snapped up by Sagan Tosu.

Montedio, though, won back-to-back games – something never achieved before in their history. But with five matches on the road inside the opening seven rounds and three players returning from off-season surgeries, there was a dip in results.

The performances, however, never wavered.

“I leave Montedio Yamagata with memories that will last forever and that is not often achieved at this football club,” Cklamovski said.

“To have changed the clubs DNA from historically such a defensive orientated game model to the way we play now fills me with pride. Also, to impact the belief systems of players and Japanese staff that I inherited was a piece of this chapter that I hold in significant importance.

“I was the first foreign manager appointed in the clubs history and I was brought in to save the club from relegation trouble. I propelled them forward to a point that they expect to be champions based on the football that has been built and results the past two seasons.

“In both 2021 and 2022 there were some ups and downs during the seasons, identical to the start of this season but we never wavered away from believing in our football and the process to improve performance to achieve success.

“The amazing scenes at end of last season that had tears of joy on the field and goosebumps in the stadium will stay in my heart forever.

“When I said goodbye to players and staff, it hit me what impact I had made within this football club. I’m proud to have left my footprint on this club and I will do it again wherever I go next.”