I was born in England and migrated to Australia with my parents when I was six months old. Football has been my passion from the moment I could walk.
By the age of 15, I had played 10 first-team games for St George in the former National Soccer League (NSL) under the guidance of Des Martin and Frank Arok, a former Australian national coach.
At 16, I was selected to represent Australia at the 1991 Youth World Cup in Portugal, where we received a bronze medal. It was at this event that Australia achieved its greatest result in international football (soccer) at any level, winning the playoff for third place in front of 120,000 people.
During the Youth World Cup, I played against some of the best players in the world, including Dwight York of Trinidad and Tobago, and Luis Figo and Rui Costa of Portugal.
Soon after returning to Australia from the Youth World Cup, I travelled to England and trialled for some of the top Premier League clubs in the UK.
In the 1992-3 season, I signed my first professional contract with Sheffield Wednesday FC under Trevor Francis. This was the year the Premier League was born. Looking back now, it was a special time to know that I was one of the first Australian players to be signed to play in the Premier League.
I went on to make over 40 appearances in six seasons, along with 150 reserve grade appearances, for Sheffield Wednesday FC.
In 1994, while playing against Nottingham Forest, I tore the medial ligament in my left knee, which resulted in me being sidelined for the entire season. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of the end…
By the start of the next campaign, I was ready to claim a spot in a star-studded team. But in the final pre-season game versus Huddersfield FC, I suffered a late challenge and blew the right medial ligament, resulting in another season spent in the physio room.
Injuries started to take their toll, and in the 1998-99 season I headed home and signed a two-year deal with Sydney Olympic in the former NSL. After 10 games, I transferred to Northern Spirit under Graham Arnold, a former national assistant. Unfortunately, two games later my knee was to blow out, and a knee reconstruction followed. After spending eight months on the sideline, I tried to get back only to injure the other knee.
In 2000, I retired from playing professional football to pursue a career in football coaching and pass on everything I know and love about the game to aspiring young players.
Some of the legendary players who I’ve had the honour of playing alongside during my time at Sheffield Wednesday FC are listed below. It was the most exciting and rewarding time of my life to play football at the highest level with some of best players this sport has ever seen.
- Chris Woods – England keeper
- Desmond Walker – England centre back
- Dejan Stefanovic – Serbian centre back
- Andy Sinton – England midfield
- Carlton Palmer – England midfield; played in two World Cups
- Chris Waddle – England midfield; played in two World Cups
- Jon Sheridan – Ireland international; played in two World Cups and current manager for Oldham Athletic
- Dan Petrescue – Romanian international; played in two World Cups
- David Hurst – England international
- Klass Ingression – Swedish international
- Roland Nelson – Swedish international
- Benito Carbone – Italian international
- Paulo Di Canio – Italian international
- Bruce Gobbelaar – Zimbabwean international and Liverpool legends
- Steve Nicol – Scottish international, Liverpool international and current head coach of the New England Revolution
- Nigel Clough – son of the great Brian Clough; current manager of Derby