Struggling Waikato FC sack coach Edge

Last updated 21:00 27/11/2012
Declan Edge
Fairfax NZ
CUTTING EDGE: Waikato coach Declan Edge yells instructions to his Premiership side earlier this year.

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Waikato FC has dumped coach Declan Edge.

The struggling ASB Premiership side has replaced the former All White with current youth team coach Mark Cossey.

The club cited "poor performance" clauses in Edge's contract, with Waikato joint-bottom of the national league and winless after four games this season.

Edge took over from Willy Gerdsen as head coach for the 2011/12 season with a two-year contract but his side only won two of their 14 matches in their first campaign.

Edge's team has conceded nine goals in their last two matches, finishing both games with 10 players and haven't won a home match for almost two years.

The club's chairman Brendon Coker said the board concluded performance levels were unacceptable and a change needed to be made to lead the franchise in a new direction.

Coker acknowledged the significant work Edge did in stepping at short notice last summer when previous coach Dave Edmondson left to coach the Adelaide United women's team and his "unquestioned commitment to developing young Waikato players".

"But an atmosphere of disillusionment has crept into the whole club in recent weeks, and there was a realisation that things would not get any better until there was a strategic change, and introduction of a game plan more suited to the abilities of the player," Coker said.

Last season, Edge produced a side comprised almost exclusively of young Waikato players, many of who had trained under Edge's tutelage for a number of years.

The side produced some entertaining performances - based on a philosophy of short-passing possession football - and  mixed results, but a failure to build on that promise this season proved costly.

The club lost key players Jason Hicks to Auckland City and Tyler Boyd to the Wellington Phoenix in the off-season.

It's understood Edge may be lining up a full time coaching job with the Ole Academy in Porirua.

Cossey, a former All White and Waikato United striker, has been head coach at Northern League Premier Division club Hamilton Wanderers for eight seasons. In the past two campaigns, he has propelled the side into the top echelon of the competition.

The former prolific goalscorer is hoping he can improve his new team's prowess in front of goal - Waikato have scored just once in four matches this season.

"Deep down Declan's philosophy and work with younger players was very good, but I hope to bring a bit more directness to Waikato's play, because at the end of the day it is all about goals - that is how we keep score," Cossey said.

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In the same week where it appears Waikato FC's future may be strengthened by an improving symbiotic relationship with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Federation, Cossey said the results on-field also needed to improve.

"We need the franchise to be successful for the good of football here.

"I think everyone from the players to the public have been frustrated by the lack of success. We need to get results - and we need matchday strategies that reflect that."

It appears unlikely the personnel makeup of the current side will change greatly under Cossey, with competition rules allowing for three players to be added to the squad before the transfer window in mid-January.

"There are a couple of players I would like to talk to, but nothing has changed in terms of club finances.

"There is no money, so all I can sell to players is the idea that we need a strong franchise here in the Waikato."

- Waikato Times

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