Melbourne City's new coach gets on the scoreboard

The Twittersphere, courtesy of Football Federation Australia's statistician Andrew Howe, on Friday night brought us the breathless news that Melbourne City's new coach Warren Joyce was the first top-tier manager in the Australian game to bear that name since Johnny Warren coached Canberra City in 1978.

If the English Warren has a fraction of the impact on the domestic league that the revered Australian Warren had, then City's A-League debutant will have done a mighty job.

We are all still waiting to see what kind of an impact Joyce will make although he could not have wished for a better start, at least on the scoreboard, with a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.

One thing that can be said about him is that he is flexible, at least in the sartorial stakes. While his team may not yet be the masters of total football, Joyce showed himself to be an aficionado of total wardrobe.

He patrolled the technical area in shorts and a tracksuit top, but for the post-match press conference he eventually appeared suited and booted, the picture of managerial elegance.

It was quite a transformation, having spent 90 minutes dressed as a Tony Pulis tribute act, and reporters did a double take.

With his Lancastrian tone and propensity to slip into managerial speak, Joyce might come across, particularly to Australian ears, as rather flat.

But there is a sharp sense of humour there and a ready riposte delivered with a grin when the occasion presents.

Three points certainly gave him something to smile about on debut in a job that carries its own peculiar set of pressures.

Working for City brings status, excellent facilities and access to a huge scouting network and a global infrastructure no other A-League club can dream of. But accountability is high - and not just from his bosses.

Elements of the Australian game have never felt quite comfortable about the City investment and the fact that the club has been able to splash for marquee names like Tim Cahill and David Villa when it suited them, even if the former is now more of a squad player than a regular and the latter turned out to be a damp squib who quit after just four games.

Fans of other clubs never let City forget about the advantages their ownership confers, and are always quick to remind them of their moneybags status.

The fact that they do play in a salary-capped league is something of an equaliser, and that the Melbourne arm of the City Football Group does have its own budget parameters to operate within is often forgotten.

There is always a healthy dose of schadenfreude from other clubs supporters and sections of the media when City fail to meet those expectations.

Joyce, however, should be well equipped to deal with those pressures having spent a decade at Old Trafford as a reserve-team coach at Manchester United, working with Sir Alex Ferguson and training top players on whom expectation often sat heavily.

City have been up to now a frustrating operation. Under Dutchman John van 't Schip, they veered from awesome to awful, sometimes within the same game.

Joyce's main job this season is to qualify the club for the Asian Champions League, something that the City Football Group rates as a priority. If he can't win the championship, then a premiers plate (which guarantees ACL participation), a grand final appearance or even a third-place finish would be a measure of compensation.

The fact that the cashed-up China Media Capital and CITIC Capital, both Chinese companies, bought a stake in the City Football Group makes City's ACL qualification even more of a target.

One game is far too early to judge Joyce's style or approach on, particularly on opening night when City and Roar showed plenty of rustiness.

Neither team played with particular fluency, especially in a yawnsome first half enlivened only by Bruce Kamau's late opening goal. The young winger had, to that point, had a rather frustrating night, losing possession and sometimes tripping over his own feet.

But his long-range shot in the opening period and his second-half goal, a deflected effort which made the points safe, were a tribute to his persistence.

Joyce knows there is plenty to work on, but at least he has got off to a winning start. And in the warmer weather to come, those shorts will really fit the bill.

This story Melbourne City's new coach gets on the scoreboard first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.