Adelaide United recruit Vinni Lia has lifted the lid on his Wellington Phoenix exit after joining the Reds on a one-year deal in early August.
The now 32-year-old spent 10 years with the Nix from 2007 through this year, amassing a total of 197 appearances and four goals.
New United manager Marco Kurz opted to sign Lia after the Shepparton product completed a successful trial with Adelaide, putting pen to paper for the upcoming campaign.
Lia joined Adelaide as part of a squad overhaul, with a raft of experienced players rolling through the door to replace the games lost.
The hard-nosed defensive-midfieldeer opted to leave Wellington when it became clear new manager Darije Kalezic and his coaching staff had no intention of retaining him.
Lia revealed on Wednesday’s Daily Football Show he never received even a phone call outlining the club’s intentions – and still has not.
“I was in New Zealand for 10 years and I think it kind of started to get a little bit stale,” Lia explained.
“I loved my time there, but 10 years is a long time to be away from family and friends.
“Adelaide’s the closest city to Melbourne, so I wanted to eventually come back to Australia and just enjoy the Australian summer again and be closer to home.
“Silverware is always at the top of every footballer’s mind and Adelaide being a pretty successful club … the desire to be back up there again is really high. You can sense that among the group.
“I was ready to leave and get back to Australia. At the same time, I had no contact from Wellington Phoenix so I couldn’t hang around there and wait for an offer.
“Still to this day, no contact or anything.
“I was lucky enough to get Adelaide coming through and I’m thankful that I’m still in the A-League and still playing football.”
Now settled in with United, Lia said German boss Kurz has moved to instil a fearless mindset within his playing group.
Ultimately, he declared there were no excuses for Adelaide not to bounce back from their hugely disappointing title defence of last season.
“There’s quite a few players gone from last season, a lot of the experienced guys have left which is why we’ve signed only experienced players and why I’ve come in,” Lia said.
“But you can sense it around the training ground … that’s the level they want to be at, that’s the standard that the club has set.
“It’s all very professional, we’ve got everything there for us.
“There’s no excuses for us to have a season like we did last year and it does hurt, it does hurt the players that are here and were part of it.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”