Socceroos icons Brett Emerton and Vince Grella helped Macarthur FC sign striker Matt Derbyshire

Having also sought intel from his Sheffield United adversary Nick Montgomery – now an assistant coach at Central Coast Mariners – Derbyshire knows exactly what to expect from the A-League.

“It’s not an easy league,” he said.

“People will say, ‘You come over here and blah, blah, blah, it’s going to be easy’ … it’s not. You’ve got some very, very good players over here and some good teams.

Matt Derbyshire celebrates with teammate Aleksander Jovanovic after Macarthur’s inaugural A-League win on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“Obviously we’re a new team, we’ve got a long way to go. I’m looking forward to the experience and what will be, will be, but we’re going to give everything we possibly can to be the best we possibly can.”

It’s the sort of talk Bulls fans will be pleased to hear from a foreigner – one who coach Ante Milicic says is “addicted to goals” – but the truth is he didn’t really need much convincing at all to move to Sydney, where he also has a brother-in-law who has lived here for nine years.

Derbyshire is a rarity among English players, most of whom spend their entire careers in the Britain and don’t branch out to continental Europe.

In 2009, he spent a period on loan at Greek side Olympiacos, which he enjoyed so much it became a permanent transfer. All up he scored 11 goals in 21 games and penned a four-year contract before a new coach, future Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde, told him to find a new club.

Derbyshire returned to that same part of the world four years ago to join Cypriot giants Omonia, bagging 62 goals in 113 games and two golden boot awards on his way to becoming a club legend.

“I like to be out of my comfort zone, go out and experience the world, as well as doing what I love to do,” he said.


“Why can you not mix the two of them together? But obviously if you’re not doing well in your football, the life’s nowhere near it. So you have to do well in your football first to enjoy your life secondly.

“That’s the way I look at it. Fortunately when I’ve gone abroad it’s worked out well for me and fingers crossed I can make it work for me here as well.”

Derbyshire did not get many sights on goal in stirring Macarthur’s 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday but is expected to lead their attack again on Sunday, when they welcome Central Coast Mariners to Campbelltown Stadium for their historic first home game.

“We’ve got a fantastic stadium here and the pitch is immaculate,” Milicic said. “Hopefully we can get a good result. It’s the first home game, that’s the one that will go down in history.

“The boys are very determined to put on a good performance. We’ve got a lot of good people at the club, so hopefully we can justify why we’re in the league and we can add value to it.”

There could be another familiar face putting Derbyshire through on goal: Tommy Oar is in line to play his first minutes for the club off the bench against the Mariners, having battled injury throughout the pre-season.

The 29-year-old winger played the 2017-18 campaign at APOEL, the other big club in the Cypriot capital, and he and Derbyshire know each other well.

“I don’t speak to him – he’s APOEL,” Derbyshire joked. “It’s a massive rivalry there, but he’s a great boy. He’s going to be great for the club and hopefully great for me crossing those balls in.”

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