How a Monday afternoon BBQ ended with an A-Leagues gig for new City boss after 13 year hiatus

Newly appointed senior men's Head Coach of Melbourne City Aurelio Vidmar spoke to the press ahead of their huge Friday night clash with Sydney FC at AAMI Park.

When Aurelio Vidmar fired up his barbecue on Monday afternoon, the last thing he expected was a job offer from an old colleague before he had even finished cooking.

Fast forward a few hours and Vidmar was the new senior men’s head coach of Melbourne City, ending a 13-year hiatus from the Isuzu UTE A-League as he stepped in to replace Rado Vidosic.

“I was actually cooking a barbecue for the family on Monday afternoon and I had a phone call from Michael (Petrillo) and then spoke to management a few hours later,” Vidmar said at his unveiling on Thursday afternoon.

“It happened very, very quickly. [I’m] super excited.. It’s a great opportunity.”


Vidmar’s appointment was announced formally by the club Wednesday morning, after the mutual termination of Vidosic’s contract.

City’s start to the 2023-24 season has been far from satisfactory, losing back-to-back games against Western United and Adelaide United – with the latter being a 6-0 hammering at Coopers Stadium.

It’s a far cry from where the reigning premiers are used to being, having won four of the last six Isuzu UTE A-League trophies on offer and made four consecutive Grand Finals.

The former Adelaide United boss said his focus is immediately on the short term, and restoring City to their lofty perch atop the standings, after only signing a deal until the end of the Isuzu UTE A-League season.


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“I’m going to give everything to get the team back to where it should be and that’s my responsibility. You never know where it’s going to go from there, but there’s no expectations past this year,” Vidmar said.

“We need to get back to the top of the table and I think that’s what the DNA of this club has been for many, many years.

“You just have a look at the last four years, how successful the club has been from their humble beginnings to where they are now. We’re in a bit of a tricky situation at the moment.

“We have a good spot in the Champions League but not a great performance over two games in the A-League, so we need to rectify that.


“I got here yesterday, so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind the last 24 hours,” he added.

“We had a session yesterday. We had another one today. I’ve kept things really basic in terms of what we need to achieve, but we need to get back to what this club was all about.

“Their DNA was a possession based team. All the things that this club has been so successful in. Creating a lot of chances, scoring a lot of chances.

“It probably hasn’t happened in the last couple of home games. So we need to get their confidence [up] and get ourselves back to what this club has been all about.”

Vidmar was quick to shut down suggestions there was discontent within the dressing room.

“No, not at all,” he said. “It’s always a difficult situation when a coach has been left behind and a new one comes in. But everyone’s really, really positive.

“I think the group is really healthy, they’ve had a bit of a difficult time over the last couple of weeks.

“The club has made a decision and everyone’s positive looking forward to a tough next couple of weeks coming up, but it’s something that we need to embrace and it’s a massive game tomorrow with two teams that are probably on the wrong side of the table.

“I said to the players that when I woke up, someone’s actually turned the table upside down, it should be the other way.

“So our objective is to get ourselves back there and get some trust within everyone and start looking forward again.”


It’s been 13 years since Vidmar last coached in the A-Leagues, after departing Adelaide in 2010 following three seasons at the helm.

He led the club to an Asian Champions League Final in 2008, along with a spot in the 2008-09 Grand Final where they lost 1-0 to Melbourne Victory.

Since his departure, Vidmar has held a multitude of roles in international football as Socceroos assistant coach, Olyroos head coach and in clubland with the likes of Bangkok Glass, Lion City Sailors and BG Pathum United.

Vidmar was also Director of Football at the Reds for a short period in 2018, but has been absent from touchlines since the end of the 2009-10 season.

He was asked about how the league has developed since he last stepped foot in the dugout, crediting the pipeline of young players who are beginning to come through the ranks across the country.

“That long?” he said with a grin, when asked about what’s changed in the A-Leagues since his departure from Adelaide.

“I think initially, there was a lot of excitement and probably round about three or four years later, sort of hit a bit of a lull and everything’s sort of picking up now.

“I think the biggest difference that I’ve noticed is a lot of kids are getting more opportunity than they ever did. Initially, you had to be a pretty clever and special young player to get an opportunity.

“But I think now everyone’s getting more of an opportunity and I think if you look at teams like, especially Adelaide, I watched them closely and what they’ve done over the last three or four years, giving the young kids an opportunity you start to develop some very good players that could only be healthy for the competition and also for our national teams.”


During his time with Reds, Vidmar’s fiery persona landed him in hot water, namely after describing Adelaide as a “pissant town” following a defeat to Victory in 2009.

Vidmar – who admitted he can be a bit “too honest” – said he would rather that be the case, especially with his newly inherited playing group.

“Well, that’s part of the job,” he said about his honesty in press conferences.

“Maybe why I get a lot of negative discussions because I’m too honest, but I’d rather that, that’s me.

“That’s part of my character. I’d rather be honest, there’s no crap and it’s clear and when it’s clear, it’s pretty honest, It’s pretty easy for everyone and I’m super consistent with that.

Vidmar added: “I’m not shy to say what I think sometimes to my own detriment.

“But I’m really honest and when there’s something to say, I say it, I think the boys appreciate it that way. It’s clear, it’s open, everyone knows where they’re sitting so that way there’s no excuse and management also spoke to the players yesterday about that.

“This has been a club that is a no-excuse club. There shouldn’t be any excuses.

“They have enormous facilities out there at Casey Fields. They have everything that they possibly need to perform at the highest level and that’s what it’s all about and that’s what we’ll do.”

As to whether he’s mellowed?

“Of course, can’t you see the grey hairs?” he said.

“You get a hell of a lot of experiences and part of the coaching journey is experience, from where I was 10-13 years ago to where I am now is completely different.”

Vidmar’s first game at the helm comes tomorrow night when City host Sydney FC at AAMI Park.

The Sky Blues are also desperate for points after a winless start, tallying losses in consecutive matches to Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar to the start the season.


“Both two teams are desperate. They haven’t started well and neither have we,” he said.

“And, so it’s… a six pointer game. We are zero points and minus five or six goals, for me, that’s nine to 12 points that you need to start to catch-up and that’s not easy. so we’ve really got to get our skates on.

“It’s always a big game against Sydney. They’ve got some great quality players and Bimbi (Sydney coach Steve Corica) will get them fired up as well.

“It’s going to be for the first game with very little preparation from my part, going to be a massive game, but we need to show a reaction, if you don’t get a reaction, there’s something wrong, especially [after] what happened last week.

“Sure they’re hurting and, I wouldn’t expect anything else. So we’re as ready as we can be, we’ve gone through a few things over the last couple of days and I just expect a top performance and we’re going to have to build on from that. So we’re going to get a lot from this game.

“Then we’ve got a quick turnaround on Wednesday against Buriram and then again, a quick turnaround against Macarthur. So, not a hell of a lot of time to work on the training pitch, but enough to give them details every day to see an improvement.”