Tony Popovic

Australia's first AFC Champions League-winning coach

Australian Tony Popovic is a former very successful English Premier League player, captain and assistant coach who made history when, on 1 November 2014, as head coach/manager of the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club, he won the Asian Champions League (ACL) against clubs with budgets many times greater than the Wanderers. This was a remarkable feat when one considers that it was achieved on Tony's first attempt.

Starting from literally nothing - no players - in April 2012 and assembling a squad the football media and most "experts" regarded as most likely to finish towards the bottom of the table, Tony Popovic has since led the Wanderers to becoming the most successful football club in Asia whose culture is revered and considered preeminent in Asian sport. In terms of results, public engagement and atmosphere, they are on par with the best clubs from any other sporting code. This is an incredible achievement.

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Tony Popovic's success as a coach/manager following a very successful playing career is unsurpassed in world sport:

• He is the first coach in the world from any professional team sport to win the Premiership in the same season that the team was formed and entered into an already existing professional competition
• He is the first coach in the world to win any continent's Champions League (or equivalent competition) on his first attempt
• He won the Asian Champions League with a player roster that was 30% smaller than his Asian competitors, and won 4 ACL quarter-final and semi-final matches while playing during his club's off season while all of his Asian competitors were playing these matches during their season proper
• His team qualified for two Australian Grand Finals in his first two attempts and qualified for two Asian Champions League campaigns in his first two attempts
• He became captain of his Australian club at the age of 20 and played in the top Japanese League at age 22
• He captained English Premier League club Crystal Palace (eventually becoming their assistant coach) and played at the 2006 World Cup as a team member of what is regarded as Australia's ‘Golden Generation'.

In addition, on 30 November 2014, Tony won the Asian Coach of the Year award ahead of football luminaries like Marcello Lippi, plus his team won the Asian Team of the Year award.

Tony Popovic's achievements are best summed up when you consider the calibre of coaches that have failed in their attempt to win the Asian Champions League including Felipe Scolari, Carlos Queiroz and Zico. Even a coach of Arsène Wenger's stature failed to qualify for the Asian Champions League in the two years he coached Nagoya before joining Arsenal.

Having previously guided his team to consecutive A-League grand final appearances in their first two seasons of existence, in May 2015 the Western Sydney Wanderers re-signed Tony Popovic on a three-year deal which will see him lead the Wanderers through to the end of the 2017-18 A-League season.

Described by Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas as "... steadfast, determined, meticulous in detail and an intelligent coach whose entire focus is on the success of this football club," Tony Popovic's unparalleled record of success, unique experience and regular public presence in Australia and internationally make him an ideal choice as leadership and motivational speaker.

Tony Popovic talks about:

Leadership, including different forms of leadership, motivation, team and culture building, managing change, communication, learning and development, teaching, recruitment and deployment of talent, media relations and many other management-related topics.