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Holiday Managerial Shakeup at Dalian Aerbin

Dalian Aerbin announced this morning that Aleksandar Stanojević, formerly in charge of FK Partizan in the Serbian league, was taking over as the club’s manager effective immediately.

Holidays are usually slow news times, people are travelling and not paying close attention to what’s going on, it’s a perfect time to bury a story.  Perhaps thats exactly what Dalian Aerbin have done with the shock announcement yesterday evening that manager Chang Woe-Ryong was stepping down as the club’s manager after only three months in charge.

Chang, who has a long history of managing in east Asia and worked magic at Qingdao last season, stated that he was stepping down for “family reasons”.  There’s a lot of speculation whether Chang was forced out or if the family excuse was a way for him and Aerbin to “save face”.  Chang’s wife underwent surgery on February 20th in Korea and Chang had made a trip home.  It’s easy to accuse Chang of not having his heart in it, but with a young squad consisting of many players who are making their Chinese Super League debut, it’s no surprise the club has performed weakly.

Indeed, Aerbin have struggled so far this year, they currently sit in second to last and are the only team in the Chinese Super League who have yet to win, mustering three draws and a loss in the first four matches.  The speculation that Chang was forced out looks all the more believable because they didn’t waste time bringing in a replacement.  Within twelve hours of announcing Chang’s stepping down, Aerbin have announced their new manager, Serbian Aleksandar Stanojević.

We’ve talked about the certain Brazilian flair that has taken over the Chinese Super League when it comes to foreign player allotments, but when looking at the data, the second most represented “country” is the former Yugoslavia, with 11 players (if you include Dino Dulbic) who come from the republics of Serbia (5), Bosnia-Herzegovina (4), Croatia (1), and Macedonia (2).  The trend extends to managers as well, Stanojević is the league’s third Serb manager, and the league also has a Croat and Bosnian in charge of clubs.

Stanojević has a tall task ahead.  He has little managerial experience, having spent two seasons in charge of the Serbian U-19s and two seasons in charge of Serbian club Partizan before coming to Dalian.  Except for a year with Mallorca as a player, his entire playing and coaching career was spent in Serbia, coming to China is sure to be a major adjustment for him.  And despite the Yugoslav influence on the Chinese Super League, it doesn’t extend to any of the players on Aerbin.

These are difficult days to be a manager in Dalian, intercity rivals Shide are only doing slightly better with a win, a draw, and two losses, sitting one point ahead of Aerbin and questions growing how much longer Portuguese manager Nelo Vingada will be safe.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



  1. Kenneth

    04/04/2012 at 22:41

    Jiangsu brought in a new Serbian manager early in the season last year. It worked wonders for them, it will be interesting to see how Stanojević pans out.

    • bcheng

      05/04/2012 at 08:27

      I think it was the Serbian player, Jevtic, that made a big difference in Jiangsu. The biggest problem with Aerbin is their squad, they have a strong group of foreigners, but beyond that, it pretty much all falls to Yu Dabao. The team is too inexperienced at this level, the coach’s main goal should be avoiding the drop and if they can do that, they’ll be a different side next year.

      • LONESTAR

        05/04/2012 at 10:26

        i do not think jevtic made the big difference ,he did not play well in serbia or in any other club , it was not until Okuka got him to Jiangsu and made him to the player he is today. Jiangsu has got the team to win this year manly because of Okuka and what he did with the team last year and off season.

        Stanojević will have a hard first year ,little managerial experience, and an all new team will make life hard for the new coach , in time i think he might do well

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