Sydney FC fans have turned against their own coach, with many saying Steve Corica’s ‘classless’ act of having former teammate Milos Ninkovic removed from their dressing room was the last straw.
There has been bad blood between the Serbian star and Coric since Ninkovic defected to cross-town A-League rivals Western Sydney Wanderers after seven seasons with the Sky Blue in 2022 after seven seasons with the Sky Blue.
Making his departure more difficult for Sydney fans was the fact that the star international announced he was leaving the club Instagram.
That tension boiled over last weekend in the first-ever Sydney derby in the A-League final, as Sydney FC knocked out the Wanderers 2-1 at CommBank Stadium.
Ninkovic was reportedly involved in an altercation with his former coach on the sidelines during the game.
Footage shows the Wanderers star being marched out of Sydney FC’s changing cubicles with a frog after the match, allegedly on Corica’s orders.
Ninkovic remains Public Enemy No. 1 for many Sydney FC fans after he infamously defected to the club to join their city rivals
However, many fans have criticized Sydney FC coach Steve Corica for the way he handled the Ninkovic situation while at the club – and for kicking him out of the changing rooms.
Both Corica and Wanderers coach Marko Rudan said Ninkovic had only been in the shed to congratulate his old teammates.
While Sydney fans remain angry at Ninkovic for leaving their club, many have criticized Corica for his handling of the situation.
“As a Sydney FC fan, Corica is a fool. Ninkovic did nothing wrong and even if he said something to Corica, who cares. Instead of focusing on the club, the players and the fans, he is all about himself,” one fan said angrily after seeing the vision.
“Everybody except the Sydney FC board can see this. Even if we happen to win the final, Corica has to go.’
“Corica has problems with him. Even if he said something, he gave everything to SFC and it’s a shame Corica isn’t man enough to ignore him and be the bigger person,” added another.
Corica is the problem. Making the playoffs doesn’t change anything, he has to go,” another posted.
The Sydney FC coach admitted that there were still unresolved issues between him and Ninkovic, but did not elaborate after the game.
“He only came to wish the players well and a good season,” said Corica.
“He’s just upset because he’s clearly losing the game.
“You know, of course we have problems with him, but that’s all between me and him.”
Vision showed staff forcibly removed the Serbian star from the dressing rooms after he reportedly wished his old teammates well in the rest of their finals campaign
There was a lot of tension on and off the pitch in the first-ever A-League final match between the fierce rivals from Sydney
Numerous fans applauded Ninkovic for displaying sportsmanship despite the bad blood and heavy loss.
Ninković showed what it means to be a true sportsman by congratulating his former team players. Pushing him out like he was a troublemaker was an act befitting some village show,” one fan posted.
Respect to Ninkovic for going in there and congratulating the boys. Yes, the contract story was unfortunate and distasteful, but people should remember the huge contribution he has made to the club’s success over the last decade,” said another.
There were also many Sydney FC supporters who said Ninkovic lit the fuse by entering the barns, with some Western Sydney supporters even agreeing that their prize recruit should have stayed away.
“As a Wanderers fan I don’t see any reason why he had to go in there. When I heard about this, it didn’t sit well with me,” one Western Sydney fan wrote.
“After a match like that, he should have been with his own teammates and be a ‘leader’. Yes, he can congratulate his former team, but do it when you’re shaking hands or after you and your current team have debriefed. Don’t go to their locker room friend.’
Ninkovic was a hero for the Sky Blue in the seven seasons he played for them before shocking fans by announcing his departure on social media platform Instagram
Sydney fans are still not used to seeing Ninkovic in the red and black of their rivals Western Sydney Wanderers
In the corresponding derby last year, Sydney FC supporters group The Cove burned Ninkovic’s jersey as they marched through Moore Park to Allianz Stadium for the derby.
That move was also widely criticized by football fans.
“This isn’t passion, this is hooliganism,” someone posted after the 2022 derby.
“Burning your club’s badge shows that Ninković was bigger than Sydney FC,” another added.
“I understand passionate fans, but I don’t understand why they/fans have to burn tokens,” said another.
Sydney FC now take on Melbourne City in a two-part semi-final series, while the Wanderers are knocked out of the A-League final.