Harry Kewell is arguably Australia’s finest ever footballer and, at one stage, the midfielder was considered the very best winger in the world. Tim Cahill fans may object to Kewell being called Australia’s best ever but, as far as technique and natural ability go, there can be no doubt at all as Kewell was in a complete class of his own.
Kewell has now joined the growing trend of ex-footballers who have made the transition into management after hanging up their boots. The 40-year-old officially started his managerial journey at Crawley Town in May 2017 and enjoyed a mixed time at the Broadfield Stadium having lost 27 and only won 18 of his 57 games in charge.
An indifferent spell in West Sussex wasn’t enough to put off the ambitious Notts County and in August 2018, owner and chairman Alan Hardy approached the Socceroo legend to take over from sacked boss Kevin Nolan. It didn’t take long for Kewell to say yes despite the Magpies languishing at the bottom of League Two without a win after five games.
— Harry Kewell (@HarryKewell) September 3, 2018
Since his appointment Kewell has managed to steer Notts County out of the basement of the table and as the leagues around the world stop for the international break, Kewell’s Magpies sit in 17th place. It’s been a stuttering start at Meadow Lane in some respects but it looks to be gaining a bit of momentum now that Notts County have gone unbeaten in their last five league games.
It was an inauspicious start for Kewell after he was given a red card and sent to the stands during his first game after sarcastically saying ‘well done’ to the referee after Exeter City scored. Kewell was incensed that the referee didn’t spot a foul in the build-up to Exeter’s goal which prompted him to have a go at the official. In reality, it was as soft a red card as any manager is ever going to see and the chicken feed fine by the FA of £500 seems to suggest they didn’t consider it a major offence at all.
The ship looks steadied now and Kewell seems to have the measure of his new squad which by League Two standards, is a very good one. Few players managing in England’s fourth division have the playing experience that Kewell has after enjoying glittering spells at Leeds United and Liverpool. The 40-year-old’s time at Anfield was particularly successful after having been part of the legendary Liverpool side that pulled off mission impossible in Istanbul during the 2005 Champions League final.
Kewell was nicknamed the ‘Wizard of Oz’ by the Liverpool faithful during his time there and even today the winger still holds a special relationship with the Merseyside outfit. It could be a big year for Kewell’s old club as they try and break a 30-year drought by winning England’s top flight again. The odds for the Premier League winner may vary as the season goes by and on the Betfair exchange at 14/5, Liverpool will look like outsiders but there is a general feeling that this will indeed be their year. The question is, could it be a big year for Kewell at Notts County as well?
TFW you knock off your former club 😃
Harry Kewell guided @Official_NCFC to a 3-1 win over Crawley Town.
Maybe the move is beginning to pay dividends? pic.twitter.com/SLd5NQ0fhe
— Daily Football Show (@DFS_AUS) October 3, 2018
As a footballer, it was always plainly obvious to see that he was supremely talented. However, It’s not always easy to translate the success on the pitch to the technical area as former players have found out, Gary Neville, Alan Shearer, and Maradona are just a few great players to have failed in the dugout.
Harry Kewell though, as an inexperienced manager, has come in at the right end of English football at a club that is capable of getting promoted. It’s always hard to say but this there’s good reason to believe his time at Notts County will be successful.