Soon after being revealed as Team11’s first full time employee, Matt Windley has explained why he took the leap of faith to work for the club that is scarcely in its own embryonic phase.
Team11, the bid encompassing areas from Melbourne’s southeast, is vying for A-League inclusion when the next rounds of expansion take place, set to begin from the 2019-20 season.
Herald Sun newsman Windley has spent the best part of a decade penning yarn after yarn for Australia’s biggest newspaper but will in April begin work in his own community, where he was born, bred and still lives.
He will commence work as Team11 Projects Officer as the franchise looks to do plenty of building up; it is set to be based out of the regional centre of Dandenong, some 30 kilometres from the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.
For Windley, his new pathway that is very much starting from scratch is about more than simply starting an A-League and W-League team in his own backyard.
“I’m really passionate because I live out here and what it can do for my community, for my family,” he told Wednesday’s Daily Football Show.
“There’s a lot of stigma around the Dandenong region and the southeast of Melbourne region in terms of youth crime and gangs and unemployment and poverty and those kinds of things.
“I really think this can be a positive avenue for change … I really do think that this club, done right, can be a special, special force in this community and give people who might be a bit off the beaten track, who might be lost a bit in their lives, positive role models both male and female.
“If we can change vibes … at the end of the day, we’re just talking about sport, we’re not talking about world peace but if we can actually do something to really impact people’s lives out here, and make a better community, then I’d be utterly humbled to be part of something like that.
“I genuinely think that if we do this right, this can be the case – this is about so much more than bringing an expanded team into the A-League if we’re lucky enough to get the tick.
“It’s going to be about changing and revolutionising the face of southeast Melbourne forever.
“And that’s something I’m a massive, massive advocate for and will continue to fight for until we continue to get the green light or the red light.
“I’m going to stop at nothing to fight for that cause.”
Windley said that while there had been no formal discussions with FFA about the bid and key criteria, A-League and W-League chief Greg O’Rourke had given him enough confidence in the push to step away from his job.
“So far there haven’t been any formal talks about what the bid process is going to look like,” Windley added.
“We’re waiting on tenterhooks like everybody else.
“But as they (FFA) sort of intimated when FIFA came to town that they were going to provide an outline by the end of this month, I’m still expecting that to be the case.”
FFA has signalled more plans for expansion will be outlined this year.