Whilst having a meeting with Sydney FC Football Manager, Terry McFlynn, on 13 November 2015, Graham Arnold came over and I was introduced to him in the coffee shop at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. That brief introduction turned into a 40-minute conversation; an Expect to Win talk.
On the 10th August 2016, I randomly rang Graham Arnold from the number on his business card. We spoke for 39 mins; another Expect to Win talk.
He was at his hotel room, said he never answer blocked numbers, but he answered my call. Sydney FC had a game that night, for the FFA Cup against Wollongong and Graham was nervous, despite being the favourites. I text Graham a programme for the match and Sydney FC won 3-0.
I continued to forward programmes to Graham, each week, through the FFA Cup series right through to their Grand Final appearance on November 30, 2016, and as the 2016/17 A-League season started. I spoke to him on the phone on August 17, 2016 for an hour & 7 November 2016 for 30 minutes. This was the first-time Sydney FC had ever made a Grand Final in the FFA Cup. They lost to Melbourne City in the Grand Final 1-0.
After the loss in the FFA Grand Final, I spoke to Graham about the energy surrounding the club on social media and re-built the belief.
The 2nd time I met Graham in person, was on the sidelines after the Brisbane Roar Vs Sydney FC game, in Brisbane, on 19 November 2016.
The A-League season was well under way as I continued to send programmes weekly.Graham had begun to ring me, twice a week, from Round 14, January 2017 for further Expect to Win talks.
I put together a programme whereby Sydney FC would be undefeated for the entire A-League season. By round 19 in the A-League, Sydney FC was still undefeated. In round 20, Sydney FC was beaten by the Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0, due to a unanimously agreed significant error by the referee. To continue striving and winning, I developed programmes whereby Sydney FC would tick off various records held in the A-League. We remained undefeated until the completion of the regular season, breaking every record ever held in the A-League.
Sydney FC won the 2016/17 Premiers Plate with 66 points out of a possible 81 points, breaking the previous record of 65 points (larger competition with 3 extra games). Sydney took the Premiers Plate with 4 rounds to go and then went on to win the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League overall, in the Grand Final, against 2nd place Melbourne Victory, on 7 May 2017 in a penalty shoot-out. We also won the 2017/18 Premiers Plate with 64 points & the Westfield FFA Cup in 2017/2018. In this 2 season period together, we won 4 of the 6 titles on offer.
Graham has also won the A- league Coach of the Year in those 2 seasons. I worked alongside Graham to qualify the Socceroos for the 2022 Football World Cup and during the record breaking success of the Socceroos at the 2022 World Cup. I also worked alongside Graham with the qualification, and playing, of the Olyroos in the 2021 Olympics, who qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 12 years.
The "Coach Whisperer" behind Graham Arnold's resurrection at Sydney FC
By his own admission, Graham Arnold was “more of an actor than a coach” in the public eye. He was not nearly as relaxed and his real personality was buried far beneath the surface as...