Altona East Phoenix has turned to a familiar face in Terry Antoniadis to lead it back to relevance in the Football Victoria men’s state league 2 competition.
The Phoenix endured a rough season this year, finishing last on the ladder with just four wins from 22 outings.
They hit rock bottom in July when they conceded 10 goals in a game against Hoppers Crossing.
The only positive for the Phoenix was there was no relegation in 2019 with the leagues being re-structured next season.
Antoniadis is not concerned with the past, only what he can do to get the Phoenix back to being competitive next campaign.
“I only went and saw them play once this year and I don’t really want to comment on this season that just went,” he said. “For us it’s about moving forward and improving.
“We’ve got a lot of ground to make up because we’re coming from a long way back.”
Antoniadis has devoted most of his life to soccer.
As a player, he represented the Phoenix, Western Suburbs, Sunshine George Cross and Richmond.
Once his playing career was over, he took on a coaching role with the Phoenix before leaving to coach Western Suburbs for two and a half years.
With so many campaigns under the belt, Antoniadis was exhausted by soccer and needed a break.
The 45-year-old took the past 18 months off before committing to coach the Phoenix.
Now he is champing at the bit to get back into it.
“I’ve had an 18 month break from the game and I needed one,” Antoniadis said.
“To be honest, for 90 per cent of that time I didn’t miss the game at all and I really enjoyed my break.
“Being a competitive person, there’s been a void there because I haven’t been involved with the game.
“Just being around a group of people who are working towards trying to achieve something.
“I’m ready to go now and I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s good to go back to a club that I’m familiar with and I’m familiar with the people that are there and I know the president really well.”
It will certainly not be an easy job for Antoniadis.
The wheeling and dealing he does over the
summer will go some way to deciding whether his first year will be a success or not.
“It’s a big challenge and we know there’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m excited to be a part of it,” he said.
“We’ll have a look at the people that were there this year and give them an opportunity to stake a claim.
“We’re also under no illusions that we’re going to have to recruit and to recruit heavily.
“Not just good players, but good people.
“We want to get everything right on and off the park.
“We want to put the right people in who are there for the right reasons.”
Antoniadis wants to bring the glory days back to Altona East Phoenix.
When he played at the Phoenix, it was one of the most revered clubs in Victoria.
“We want to be better than state league 2, we’ll aim to be better than that.”