The Melbourne Knights Football Club would like to announce the retirement of long-time midfielder, former captain and clubman Ben Surey.
Having arrived to the club via England for the 2010 Victorian Premier League season, Surey ingratiated himself to the club having been one of the constant features of the first team in the last decade.
Surey played in over 120 league games for the club whilst also taking the reins of the relegation-threatened first team near the end of 2017, successfully avoiding the drop as a player-coach on the last day of the season against Dandenong City.
Following Surey’s announcement to the club that he was to retire from first team football last year, the club felt that it would be a shame to lose someone of Ben’s calibre and were able to appoint him as the new 2019 Under 20s coach.
Below is an open letter penned by Surey to all Knights fans and players:
Playing for Melbourne Knights over the past nine years has been a great experience and it has always been an honour to represent a community and group of supporters who are so passionate about their football and their club.
I’ve gotten to know many good people from around the club and it has always been clear how proud they are of its history, something which has always motivated me to want to add to it.
Lifting the Dockerty Cup was a proud moment and a great season for us but my biggest disappointment is not having been able to make more of the finals opportunities we’ve had in recent seasons.
I feel like I’ve witnessed special nights and a special atmosphere building at times but we haven’t really had the consistency to compete in the league. I can only imagine what the atmosphere was like 20 years ago but what a place to be when things are going well!
Now I’m looking forward to the challenge of coaching our U20’s, a role that I’m really enjoying so far. We’ve picked a fairly young squad this year, balanced out by a couple of boys who I believe should be really pushing to play senior football by the end of this year. There’s a lot of potential in this group, and also in the younger juniors coming through behind, so I hope we can produce some exciting young talent for the club in the near future.
Melbourne Knights has a good track record of giving young players a chance and I’m committed to giving the players as much of my time as they need, but ultimately their desire and drive to take the next step has to come from within.
We’ll raise the bar, set high standards and create a more professional environment, and hopefully over time the mentality will change from what I have seen in the past.
For example, these boys are at a stage now where their physical development is important but we only get so many hours a week with them so they need to take some ownership of their strength and conditioning programmes (as well as technical areas of their game).
In terms of goals, the league table isn’t really important to me but it should be to the players. If they keep working hard and doing the right things the results will come anyway but my only real aim is to help them improve and prepare them for senior football, whether that’s at Knights or hopefully an even higher level.
Personally, my first goal is to find out if I’m even any good as a coach.
I’m an apprentice again myself now and I’m already learning a lot every week so who knows what will happen in the future. Things can change very quickly but at the moment I think I most enjoy and get the most satisfaction from working with young players, so hopefully I can stay in this role for the medium term and make a difference to the club and its new wave of hungry, hard-working, ruthless up and coming superstars.
The club would like to wish Ben Surey and his team all the best in season 2019.