|Intro||English-born Australian association footballer|
|A.K.A.||Kevin Vincent Muscat|
|Is||Athlete Football player Association football player Sports official Association football manager Manager|
|Birth||7 August 1973, Crawley, United Kingdom|
Kevin Vincent Muscat (born 7 August 1973) is an Australian soccer manager and former player. As a player, he represented the Australia national team at international level winning 46 caps and scoring 10 goals betwen 1994 and 2006. A defender, Muscat was most famous for his hard tackles, most notably breaking Adrian Zahra's leg in a 2011 Melbourne derby.
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 January 2010, Muscat was suspended for two games for elbowing Gold Coast United midfielder, Jason Culina, in an off the ball incident.
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 January 2011, Muscat was sent off for elbowing Adelaide United midfielder, Adam Hughes, in the face while following through on a challenge for the ball.
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".
In a professional career spanning 19 years from 1992 to 2011, Muscat received 123 yellow cards and 12 red cards.
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||049.07|
|Australia national team|
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 1997 (Runners-Up), 2001 (Third Place)
- OFC Nations Cup: 2000, 2004
- A-League Championship: 2006–07, 2008–09
- A-League Premiership: 2006–07, 2008–09
- A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup: 2008–09
- SPL Championship: 2002–03
- Scottish Cup: 2002–03
- Scottish League Cup: 2002–03
- FA Cup: 2004 (Runners-Up)
- 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)
- A-League Championship: 2014–15, 2017–18
- A-League Premiership: 2014–15
- FFA Cup: 2015
- A-League Coach of the Year: 2014–15