Former Blade to carve A-League?

SYDNEY FC has delivered the great Alessandro Del Piero but previous international arrivals have proven that star-status is not necessarily required to dominate Australia’s top flight.

Nick Montgomery

SYDNEY FC have delivered the great Alessandro Del Piero but previous international arrivals have proven that star-status is not necessarily required to dominate Australia-s top flight.

Foreign imports including the likes of Thomas Broich and Marcos Flores have pursued careers in the Hyundai A-League, and both have won the Johnny Warren Medal. But who were they before they came to Australia and who is Nick Montgomery?

Montgomery is the Mariners newest recruit and he will arrive on the Central Coast this week from English side Sheffield United. He boasts over 400 competitive appearances for ‘the Blades- and is a relatively unfamiliar name to many Australian football fans.

Broich starred for numerous Bundesliga clubs, however unfortunately failed to capitalise on his immense potential on the international stage. Despite being touted as a future German international early in his career and making appearances alongside the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, injury hindered any chance for Broich to play for his nation. When he joined Roar few Australian football fans were familiar with the former Nurnberg attacker.

Argentinean Marcos Flores was also an unknown quantity to most of the Australian public when he arrived at Adelaide United. But, like Broich in Brisbane, Flores has featured prominently in the Hyundai A-League. He is tipped to light up the competition with Melbourne Victory this season.

On the back of the (deserved) Del Piero hysteria, Montgomery will arrive at Sydney Airport early on Wednesday morning. His reception will be more humble than ADP-s, however he will address local media on the Central Coast later in the day.

Like Broich and Flores, Montgomery will not arrive to immediate fanfare. But, should he be able to overcome Australia-s summer climate, there is the possibility he will be able to become one of the A-League newest stars. The stats certainly suggest he could be one of the competition-s top players this term.

After 13 seasons, two Cup semi-finals and three excruciating play-off campaigns with Sheffield United, Montgomery will bring the experience of battle from Bramall Lane to the Central Coast for all to see. This week, Montgomery proudly declared that he will “always wear the bumps, bruises and broken bones as badges of pride” from his career in England.

Coach Graham Arnold is excited to get Montgomery on board and knows that his presence will bring plenty of positives to the Mariners unit.

“Nick-s pedigree speaks for itself and at 30 some of his strongest years of football are still in front of him. He is fit having undergone pre-season with Sheffield United and we look forward to him arriving on the Central Coast,” Arnold said.

Aside from football, Montgomery is looking forward to life on the Central Coast, which will help his immersion into one of the most unique football competitions in the world.

"There were numerous options available," he said. "I've turned down other offers and there was an enquiry from the MLS in America but both (wife) Josie and I have friends in Australia and this is a chance of a lifetime, amazing opportunity to experience something new."

Montgomery experienced an honourable exit from Sheffield United which included a farewell at the weekend when the Blades played Bury at Bramall Lane. Over 16,000 fans turned out to wish him goodbye and good luck.

Recently Montgomery has expressed excitement at arriving on the Central Coast and could not have spoken more highly of the Mariners as a professional outfit.

“The Mariners might not be the biggest name in the competition but they are one of the most well-run and professional clubs.

“The facilities there are absolutely superb and they-re very serious about what they do. There are some really good players going out there now, Alessandro Del Piero has just joined Sydney, and Mariners are involved in the Asian Champions League,” he said.

With kick off to the season just a few weeks away, fans are eager to see the impact ‘Monty- will have on not just the team, but also the league. He won-t capture front page of the Herald or Telegraph tomorrow but with 27 regular seasons rounds to be played he will have plenty of chances to make headlines.