FORRESTFIELD United’s return to the National Premier League WA (NPLWA) for the first time in 31 years has been buoyed by the signing of a WA soccer legend.
Earlier this week, the club announced it had signed former Perth Glory superstar Bobby Despotovski as an assistant coach to compliment head coach Rod Banjac and Terry Brown.
Despotovski, currently the coach of Perth Glory in the national Women’s league, played 241 games for the Perth Glory as striker between 1996 and 2007, scoring 114 goals, a total that remains unchallenged atop the Glory’s all-time scorers list.
He won the Johnny Warren medal in the 2005-2006 season, the game’s highest individual honour in Australia, and was four times names the Glory’s fairest and best player.
His acumen as a coach has also bought him considerable success, named W-League coach of the year with the Glory last season.
According to Banjac, the signing of Despotovski, who will join the club in February once his commitment to the Glory has come to an end for the season – just in time for the first NPLWA game – is simply an extension of a friendship between the two that goes back to the early days of the Glory.
“We’ve been discussing it for a while actually,” he said.
“Bobby and I go back about 20 years, back to when I was an assistant coach with the Glory.
“We developed a really strong friendship during that period and when it comes to football, we’re very like-minded, we align in the way we think it should be played, so it makes perfect sense to bring Bobby on board.
“The wealth of experience this man has in football, it’s just tremendous and while he’s going to be a source of knowledge for all our players, I think he’ll have the most impact on our forward and our attacking midlfielders like our captain Liam Merigan [of Ellenbrook].
“He’s going to also be invaluable as an assistant to myself and Terry.”
While some may think signing a marquee name is just a promotional exercise, Banjac said that when the time comes, Despotovski would be all in.
“He’s very serious about this, he’ll be at every training session and he’ll be having a very real input into the team.
“We wouldn’t have gone forward if that was not the case.”
For his part, Despotovski said he was looking forward to having an influence on men’s football.
“FUSC is the club with the high ambitions, and also the club that is coached by a very good friend of mine Rod, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
According to Banjac, the resurgence of Forrestfield United comes from what others might consider the lowest levels of the club.
“We’re very proud to be back in the NPLWA first division, it’s been
a long time and the
club has been through some tough times but we’ve pulled through,” he said.
“What makes us different as a club, and I think this attracted Bobby as well, is that we don’t look at our State team any different than our social teams or our juniors.
“We’re all one club and we value all our members, and if you promote those values and really focus on inclusion at every level, the club automatically becomes better.
“We’re a multicultural club, we’re not an ethnically-based club.
“We welcome everyone.”