Kevin Vincent Muscat (born 7 August 1973) is a former Australian international soccer player. As a player, Muscat was most famous for his hard tackles, most notably breaking Adrian Zahra's leg in a 2011 Melbourne derby.
Muscat in 2013
|Full name||Kevin Vincent Muscat|
|Date of birth||7 August 1973|
|Place of birth||Crawley, England|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|1989–1990||Sunshine George Cross|
|1989–1990||Sunshine George Cross||9||(0)|
|2011–2012||Sunshine George Cross||3||(1)|
|2009–2013||Melbourne Victory (assistant coach)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
After beginning his professional career in the Australian National Soccer League with Sunshine George Cross in 1989, Muscat played eight seasons in the United Kingdom with Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Millwall. He returned to Australia in 2005 to captain Melbourne Victory in the inaugural season of the A-league.
Muscat retired from professional football in March 2011 after Melbourne Victory's 2011 AFC Champions League campaign, citing his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game. Muscat briefly rejoined his former club Sunshine George Cross for part of the 2011 Victorian State League Division 1 season.
During his international career, Muscat represented the Australia U-20 side at the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal and the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. He represented the Australia U-23 side at the 1996 Summer Olympics. After making his full international debut for Australia in September 1994 against Kuwait, Muscat represented the national side at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2000 OFC Nations Cup, 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.
After several seasons as assistant coach, Muscat was appointed head coach at Melbourne Victory in October 2013. He has coached Victory to the 2014–15 A-League Premiership, the 2014–15 A-League Championship and success in the 2015 FFA Cup.
Born in Crawley, West Sussex, in England from Maltese descent, Muscat began his career as a junior at Australian National Soccer League (NSL) club Sunshine George Cross, making his first senior appearances for the club in the 1989/90 season. He moved from Sunshine to the Australian Institute of Sport in 1990 and was awarded the Weinstein Medal as the Victorian Junior Player of the year.
He continued playing in the NSL for Heidelberg United in the 1991-92 season and then spent four seasons with South Melbourne Hellas. In 1995-96 he was trialled at Sheffield United under manager Dave Bassett but stayed at South Melbourne. By August 1996 Bassett had taken the helm at Crystal Palace and signed Muscat to the south London club for £35,000. Muscat was part of the Palace team that subsequently won promotion to the English Premier League, defeating Sheffield United in the 1997 play-off final at Wembley. Muscat made nine Premier League appearances for Palace before moving to First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers for £200,000 in October 1997.
Muscat remained at Wolves for five seasons before moving to Scotland to join Rangers on a free transfer in July 2002. He was part of the Rangers squad which won a treble of domestic trophies in 2002-03. Muscat's final British club was Millwall, for whom he played from 2003 to 2005. In 2004, he captained Millwall to the FA Cup Final for the first time in their history.
He missed the final itself after suffering a knee ligament injury in the semi-final against Sunderland, although the Millwall manager Dennis Wise insisted on him being presented with a medal. He left Millwall to return to Australia to become Melbourne Victory's inaugural captain in the 2005-06 season. Under Victory manager Ernie Merrick, Muscat, a defender for virtually his entire career, moved to midfield for the 2006-07 season. He remained the captain until 2011.
In February 2011, Muscat announced his intention to retire from club football after the conclusion of the 2011 Asian Champions League. His decision to finish was fast-tracked by an infamous tackle he committed in a Melbourne derby on 22 January 2011, which resulted in a season-ending eight-week ban from the A-League. Muscat played out his competitive career in the 2011 AFC Champions League under the captaincy of centre-back Adrian Leijer, despite having previously referred to the competition as "not all that enjoyable". Muscat regained the captaincy for his farewell match in Melbourne, a 1-1 draw against J-League side Gamba Osaka. Muscat scored on his return to Sunshine George Cross in a 3-1 loss to Altona Magic in August 2011.
Muscat represented Australia at Under-20 level at the World Youth Cup finals in Portugal in 1991 and Australia in 1993, and at Under-23 level at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He made his full international debut in September 1994 against Kuwait, and went on to make 51 appearances for the national team, including Confederations Cup tournaments in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Muscat captained the national team five times from April 2001 and scored a critical penalty in the 1-0 home leg of Australia's unsuccessful play-off against Uruguay for a place in the finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Muscat was dropped from the squad when coach Guus Hiddink took over in 2005 and played no part in Australia's subsequent qualification for the 2006 World Cup, but was recalled later in 2006 by Graham Arnold and captained Australia in its 2-0 Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait. In 2008, newly appointed coach Pim Verbeek selected Muscat in a squad of 22 A-League based players to prepare for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but he did not play in any subsequent fixtures.
In 1996, Muscat was sent off in his first season in the UK in a match involving Crystal Palace and Norwich City after body checking Norwich player, Darren Eadie which then sparked a 21-man melee where punches were thrown. Two other players were also sent off in the incident.
Muscat was branded a "lowlife" and a "nobody" by ex-England striker Ian Wright, then of Nottingham Forest, in September 1999. Wright claimed he was about to shoot when he heard Dougie Freedman, Forest's other striker, shout "leave it". Wright stepped over the ball to allow Freedman to hit it, but instead Muscat (who had, according to Wright, merely impersonated Freedman) appeared to clear the ball.
Muscat was dubbed the "most hated man in football" by then Birmingham City player Martin Grainger in 2000 after a reckless tackle against international teammate, Stan Lazaridis. He seriously injured both Craig Bellamy and Christophe Dugarry, the latter in a friendly international between Australia and France in 2001 with a sliding tackle from behind. The French manager Roger Lemerre dubbed the tackle "an act of brutality". It was speculated that Muscat's temperament was the reason he was never selected for inclusion in an Old Firm derby during his time at Rangers.
In March 2002, Muscat was sent off after just 9 minutes into a match against Grimsby Town for elbowing striker Michael Boulding. As Wolves went on to lose the match, Muscat was subsequently suspended for 3 matches following the incident.
In 2003, after only three weeks since signing for Millwall, Muscat was fined and reprimanded by Millwall after a match against Watford where he gave away a penalty and was sent off for stamping on Watford's Danny Webber. Millwall chief executive, Ken Brown, formally warned Muscat that he would be sacked if he did not "clean up his act." "Kevin's actions were totally unacceptable. We have made him aware that such behavior will not be tolerated. Any repeat of such a deliberate, unprovoked, off-the-ball incident will result in his instant dismissal."
In 2004, a lawsuit on Muscat brought by former Charlton Athletic player Matty Holmes resulted in a settlement of £250,000 plus costs in favour of Holmes, bringing the estimated settlement to around £750,000. Holmes had to have four operations on his leg following a tackle by Muscat in 1998, and there were initial fears that his leg might have to be amputated. The claim was settled at the High Court without any admission of liability. In a League Cup tie while at Millwall, he grabbed the throat of Liverpool striker Milan Baroš. Also in 2004, Iwan Roberts admitted he deliberately stamped on Muscat in a match against Norwich City in revenge for his attempt to injure Craig Bellamy in 1999. Roberts was subsequently fined and suspended by The Football Association for his comments.
In March later that year whilst playing for Millwall, Muscat was red carded and suspended for five games for a challenge from behind on Sheffield United player, Ashley Ward which ignited an on-field brawl that involved most players from both teams.
In December 2005, he was the first A-League player to appear before a FFA disciplinary hearing and was subsequently suspended for two matches for "violent conduct". At an A-league game in October 2006 Muscat clashed with then Adelaide United coach John Kosmina, knocking Kosmina from his chair while retrieving the ball. Kosmina responded by grabbing Muscat by the throat, an action for which Kosmina was suspended for four matches.
Muscat's dominant personality and aggressive style did win some admirers in the A-League, with former England international Terry Butcher stating "Every manager in the A-League would love to have Kevin, and I'm no exception".
In February 2009, Muscat "escaped" further sanction by the FFA for stamping on Adelaide United defender, Daniel Mullen, while challenging for the ball. Due to the referee seeing the incident during the match, as according to A-League protocol, the Match Review Panel had no authority to intervene any further.
In October 2010, Manchester United winger Ashley Young recalled he was threatened by Muscat during his first professional match as an 18-year-old. "Kevin Muscat said he would break my legs if I went past him," said Young. Their meeting occurred as they were warming up for an encounter between Watford F.C. and Millwall back in September 2003, but Muscat was sent off for stamping on Watford's Danny Webber before Young came on as substitute for Watford.
In his first match back from suspension, Muscat was then suspended for eight matches following a tackle on Melbourne Heart player Adrian Zahra in a Melbourne Derby. The tackle was widely condemned in Australia and around the world, with former Socceroo Mark Bosnich calling it a "disgrace". The Sun described it as one of the worst tackles in football history.
In December 2013, the Spanish football website El Gol Digital named Muscat as football's dirtiest ever player.
For the final two years of his playing career, Muscat served as a playing assistant coach under Ernie Merrick. Due to a clause in his contract with Melbourne Victory, which makes him an assistant coach at Melbourne Victory for the next two years after his retirement, Kevin Muscat began serving as an assistant coach at Melbourne Victory shortly after his retirement from football. After Mehmet Durakovic was sacked after a poor run of results, Muscat was appointed as the caretaker coach of Melbourne Victory until he was succeeded by former Ipswich Town and Queens Park Rangers manager Jim Magilton. In his only game as Victory manager, Melbourne Victory defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-1, with two own goals from defender Byun Sung-Hwan.
After an underwhelming tenure as Melbourne Victory manager, in which he recorded just two wins in 12 matches, Magilton left the Victory at the conclusion of the 2011–12 A-League with Brisbane Roar manager Ange Postecoglou taking the reins at Victory for the beginning of the 2012-13 A-League season, signing a three-year contract. After a relatively successful first season in charge of the Victory, in which the Victory finished 3rd on the A-League ladder, and made it to the semi-finals of the A-League finals, Postecoglou was appointed the new manager of Australia, with Postecoglou departing the Victory after their Round 3 win against Postecoglou's former club, Brisbane Roar. Having served under four managers since his appointment as assistant coach, Muscat was subsequently appointed as Postecoglou's successor on 31 October 2013, three games into the 2013-14 season, on a two-year contract.
In his first full season as Melbourne Victory manager, and just his second year in charge of the club, Muscat guided Melbourne Victory to an A-League premiership-championship double in 2015, the Victory's third A-League premiership-championship double. Under Muscat, the Victory finished with a regular season record of 15 wins 8 draws and 4 losses, with a final points tally of 53 points, three points ahead of second placed Sydney FC and a final goal difference of +25, the highest of any club that season. Muscat guided the Victory to a 3-0 win over Melbourne City in the semi-finals, before recording a 3-0 win over Sydney FC at AAMI Park.
- As of 4 June 2019
|Melbourne Victory (caretaker)||5 January 2012||7 January 2012||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Melbourne Victory||31 October 2013||May 2019||214||105||45||64||49.07|
National team statisticsEdit
|Australia national team|
With Melbourne Victory:
- A-League Championship: 2006–07, 2008–09
- A-League Premiership: 2006–07, 2008–09
- A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup: 2008–09
With Rangers F.C.:
- FFV Weinstein Medal: 1990
- NSL Papasavas Medal (U-21): 1991–92
- Melbourne Victory Medal: 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09
- A-League PFA Team of the Season: 2008–09, 2009–10
- PFA A-League Team of the Decade (2005–15)
With Melbourne Victory:
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/2006. Queen Anne Press. p. 291. ISBN 1852916621.
- "Muscat calls time on 20-year career". Soccerway. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "Tears flow as Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat retires". Herald Sun. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "Mehmet Durakovic is named Melbourne Victory's new coach". The Courier-Mail. News Limited. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- "Ex-Socceroo and Melbourne Victory star Kevin Muscat signs with Sunshine club". Maribyrnong Leader. News Limited. 1 July 2011. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "Kevin Muscat". National Football Teams. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Weinstein Medal". OzFootball. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- White, Clive (26 May 1997). "Muscat aims to collect honour at the Palace". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Kevin Muscat". football-heroes.net. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Championship final 1997". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- O'Brien, Bren. "Frustrated Muscat bows out". A-League.com.au. Sportal. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Muscat confirms retirement". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- Tuckerman, Mike (20 April 2010). "Muscat: Champions League? You're having a laugh!". FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011.
- "Muscat farewelled with ACL draw". Fox Sports.
- "Match details - Sunshine George Cross v Altona Magic". Football Federation Victoria. 7 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Kevin Muscat Australia". FIFA. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Australian Player Database - Muscat, Kevin Vincent". OzFootball. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- "Socceroo 2005 matches". OzFootball. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- "Canary Sparklers". Sunday People. 15 December 1996. Retrieved 17 September 2017 – via The Free Online Library.
- Cotton, John (22 September 1999). "Wright continues Muscat dispute". London: The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
- "Muscat accused again". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 November 2001. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Lemerre condemns Muscat tackle as 'act of brutality'". Soccernet. 11 November 2001.
- "Muscat sweats on Old Firm Fate". London: The Times. 20 April 2003. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
- "Wolves 0-1 Grimsby". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 16 March 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Buckingham, Mark. "Muscat on final warning". Sky Sports. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Wild Rover strikes back after jibes". The Age. Fairfax Media. 22 September 2003. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Holmes awarded £250,000". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 23 February 2004.
- "Socceroo's $606,000 payout". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. AAP. 24 February 2004.
- Wyett, Charlie (28 October 2004). "Baros in Muscat blast". London: The Sun (UK). Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Roberts to appeal over ban". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 21 September 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
- Bryce, Robert (7 December 2004). "Warnock calls on video of tunnel bust up". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Muscat gets three-game suspension". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. AAP. 13 December 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
- Lynch, Michael (16 October 2006). "Kosmina grabs a throat as well as points". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
- "Kosmina handed four-game ban". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
- Cockerill, Michael (5 December 2006). "Why Butcher likes Muscat". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Muscat Escapes Over 'Stomping'". Australian FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Bleiberg will cop sanction sweet". Australian FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media. Sportal Australia. 30 January 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Lawton, Matt (11 October 2010). "England star Ashley Young ready to wing it for international boss Fabio Capello". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
- Howcroft, Jonathan (10 January 2011). "Muscat off as Victory thumped". The Age. Fairfax Media.
If clawing back a two-goal deficit wasn't difficult enough, Victory was forced to play the final 25 minutes without Muscat. Just eight minutes after his first caution, he tangled with Hughes and a swinging arm floored the Adelaide midfielder, earning the feisty defender his marching orders.
- "Muscat remorse over tackle". Australian FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Bossi, Dominic (27 January 2011). "Muscat gets 8 game suspension". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
- "Kevin Muscat tackle a blight on game". Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "World awaits Kevin Muscat's penalty". Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 27 January 2011.
- Lloyd, Jimmy (24 January 2011). "Is this footballs worst ever foul". The Sun. London.
- http://www.soccerbase.com/players/player.sd?player_id=9541&season_id=134 Soccerbase statistics
- http://www.melbournevictory.com.au/default.aspx?s=mvfc_playerprofile_item&pid=258[permanent dead link] A-League statistics
- AFC Champions League ACL
- Bossi, Dominic (12 December 2013). "Kevin Muscat named football's dirtiest player". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Davutovic, David (31 October 2013). "Melbourne Victory unveil former skipper Kevin Muscat as new coach on two-year deal". The Advertiser. News Corporation. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Lynch, Michael (30 October 2013). "Kevin Muscat to coach Melbourne Victory". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Bernard, Grantley (15 February 2011). "Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat will retire after Asian Champions League". The Advertiser. News Limited.
- "GVE: Jets Must Be More Ruthless". Australian FourFourTwo. Haymarket Media. 8 January 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Davutovic, David (1 April 2012). "Interim coach Jim Magilton departs from Melbourne Victory". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Postecoglou confirmed as Victory coach". Football Federation Australia. Sportal. 26 April 2012. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- "Ange Postecoglou unveiled as Socceroos coach, wants to restore pride to national side". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat appointed as new Melbourne Victory coach". The Guardian. AAP. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Lynch, Michael (31 October 2013). "Kevin Muscat confirmed as Melbourne Victory coach in two-year deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat named Melbourne Victory coach replacing new Socceroos mentor Ange Postecoglou". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat appointed Victory coach". Football Federation Australia. 31 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat, Ross Aloisi, Darren Davies Socceroos' coaching staff". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. AAP. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- Davutovic, David. "Victory coach Kevin Muscat and Roar assistant Ross Aloisi join Socceroos coaching staff for Confederations Cup". Herald Sun. News Corporation. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat". ALeague Stats. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- "Kevin Muscat". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 27 January 2011.