The Ultimate Clubman: Thank you, PK
It was with a somber but proud heart that on Wednesday evening City fans received the news that Patrick Kisnorbo has accepted the offer to become head coach of Ligue 1 outfit ESTAC Troyes.
PK has spent nearly a decade at the club, spanning across various roles such as player, assistant coach and head coach, and its due to this reason that we could write for hours and hours on the contributions he has made to our club. However, for now, I’d like to particularly focus on his time as head coach, as I think it was the most pivotal.
PK took the reigns of the club at a truly unique period of time in our history.
Erik Mombaerts had been able to restore and rejuvenate what seemed a lifeless entity after the divide left by Warren Joyce, leading the club to its maiden Grand Final appearance. Mombaerts had planted the seeds of a culture that excited the fans, but ultimately felt like an uncut diamond when he exited the club after just a single season. Following his departure, a sense of typical City followed suit: "Here we go again, so close but so far."
Kisnorbo (who served as an assistant coach under Mombaerts) was then appointed, and with that followed a few question marks. PK was a much-loved club figure and had success at youth level and with the women's team, but this job felt like a mammoth task. Could a still unproven manager be trusted to take those reigns?
Well, those initial question marks were made even bigger when PK endured a shaky start to his managerial career, losing 4 of his first 6 matches in charge. It seemed a feeling that City fans knew all too well. But then something changed.
Slowly but surely the team grew into the PK philosophy and the results kept coming. We all know what followed after that.
PK took us on a journey that fans of a previous disappointment-ridden club could only have ever dreamed of. PK lead us to our inaugural A-league Men's Championship as well as an unprecedented back-to-back Premiership. Life under PK has seen us fans be utterly spoilt.
However, I think what makes PK so special isn’t necessarily just what he was able to do on the pitch, but perhaps even more so what he was able to do off it.
In simple terms, Patrick Kisnorbo is Melbourne City.
For so long we were described as just this lifeless machine that just served as a revolving door for big names and young talent that lacked any sort of personality. Fans of the club knew it never was the case, but often it felt like those in the influential positions of our club didn’t share that sentiment.
PK knew what it means to us. He was there every step of the way, from slumming it at the bottom of table at Heart, to the transitional stage of City and so forth. City was PK’s club, just like it was ours, and I think that's what set him above everyone else who’s ever stepped through that door to coach our side.
This was so much more than a job for him.
He came under his fair share of criticism while in charge, sometimes described as too one-dimensional, a micromanager, etc, but a look at his record will tell you that the proof was in the pudding.
Kisnorbo instilled a culture in this club that mediocrity will not stand, and it didn’t matter how big you were, if you weren’t committed to the cause you wouldn’t be part of the squad. He demanded so much but was still able to have every single member of the playing group ready to run through brick walls for him.
City was always capable of wonderful football, but it was the passion and understanding of what this club truly was at its core, what it meant to its fans and what it meant to be a City man that I believe was the catalyst for sending us to the heights we currently soar at.
His connection to our club through each of its eras is what makes him probably our greatest-ever clubman. He is the face of everything great about City and it was only fitting that he was the one who guided us to where we always knew could be.
In just over two seasons in charge, Kisnorbo has reinvented the identity and culture within the club and unified the passion in the stands with the football on the pitch.
But the most special of all is he gave us a club that we could be proud of.
His legacy will live long in the memory of those who follow the club, as well immortalised through the on-pitch triumphs achieved under his leadership.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and whilst it hurts to say goodbye to someone the fans held so dear to their heart, there is no doubt that PK is truly deserving of this opportunity.
Whilst this is a monumental loss at club level, if PK can share just a fraction of what he was able to create for us when he's over on the world's most-watched footballing continent, then that is a huge win for Australian football.
On behalf of every single City fan, PK,
Thank you and good luck.