Knights add six more to squad
The New Zealand Knights have on Thursday made some major signings for the club on and off the field.
The club announced the signing of six new players - Englishmen Sean Devine and Neil Emblen, Australians Steve Fitsimmons and Josh Maguire, Japan-born Naoki Imaya, and New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss - to bring the squad to 12.
The Knights also revealed the signing of their Doctor, physio and also a trainer from Glasgow Celtic.
Kenny McMillan has been the Celtic Head Sports Scientist since 1999 and brings a wealth of experience in the latest training techniques, player rehabilitation and handling the demands of travel.
Knights Football Manager John Adshead admitted it was a surprise to find interest from someone from such a prestigious club.
"He wants a new challenge, he wants something fresh. The A-League believe it or not is being talked about a lot in Europe," Adshead said.
"He saw an opportunity, he wanted to grab that opportunity with both hands. He was unsure to the fact that now his boss has said, 'go there, have a year, have two years if you want to come back to Celtic your jobs here.' That's how much they think about him at Celtic."
McMillan, like several of the Knights signings, was also attracted to the club for more than money and the opportunity in the new league.
"You go outside and have a look at what New Zealand has to offer in terms of lifestyle, I think it's a wonderful country," Knights CEO Guy Hedderwick said. "I think a lot of players and people like Kenny are attracted to that and the safety aspect of living in New Zealand, the beauty of the place and the opportunity to work in a new environment."
The Knights have added two more experienced English players to the squad through 32-year old striker Sean Devine and 33-year old utility player Neil Emblen.
"Both Devine and Emblen are coming here because they want to come to New Zealand," Adshead revealed.
"They've thought about it for some years, they've talked about it with their families and to be given the opportunity to come and play football here to enable the families to establish themselves in this country is the key factor. It's like they are so grateful that we've offered them this but the experience and the ability that these players will bring with them is second to none."
The signing of goalkeeper Glen Moss brings the Kiwi contingent to three, joining Danny Hay and Noah Hickey, and Adshead is still searching overseas to see if there are any better players before signing any more New Zealanders.
"I won't close that overseas door probably until (coach) Tommy (Mason) gets back on the 22nd of April," Adshead suggested.
"We're still looking to see that the right thing for the football club is are we finding anything better. If I suddenly have holes left and I'm into that 50/50 basis again I will not hesitate to offer New Zealand players contracts."
Adshead was very positive about all the signings but believes 28-year old midfielder Steve Fitsimmons could be a real quality player to watch while he was impressed with the touch and work rate of Josh Maguire and Naoki Imaya.
Most of the squad will not assemble in Auckland until late May, with those in the Australian leagues playing through until the season's end in mid-June, and Adshead thinks a solid build up from then will give them enough time to be ready for kick off at the end of August.
Knights squad: Danny Milosevic (keeper), Glen Moss (keeper), Danny Hay (defender), John Tambouras (defender), Frank van Eijs (defender), Neil Emblen (utility), Darren Bazeley (defender/midfielder), Josh Maguire (midfielder), Naoki Imaya (midfielder), Steve Fitsimmons (midfielder), Sean Devine (striker), Noah Hickey (striker).