Finals in the first year: Gulum’s big prediction for Western United

Ersan Gulum was busy planning for life after football until a conversation with Western United boss Mark Rudan.

Not only did that discussion persuade the former Turkey international to bin the idea of retirement, but so enthused was the 32-year-old by the scale of Rudan’s ambition that Gulum believes the Hyundai A-League newcomers are destined for huge things in their debut season.

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"I had probably thought in my mind I had retired. I hadn't announced it, but that's where I felt I was heading,” Gulum told Omnisport.

“When I spoke to Mark Rudan, he excited me about what he wants to achieve.

Mark Rudan
Rudan 'excited me about what he wants to achieve', says Ersan Gulum

“I wanted him to give me a reason to push myself again… to become the same player I was three years ago when I played at the top level.

His excitement is what triggered me.”

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Melbourne-born Gulum has been involved with lower-tier Victorian club Whittlesea United in recent times, following a loan spell with Adelaide United in 2017/18, and became Western United's 12th signing in May.

He has since been joined by the likes of ex-Caltex Socceroos striker Scott McDonald, Western Sydney Wanderers captain Brendan Hamill and Wellington Phoenix duo Filip Kurto and Max Burgess.

“It’s a new club and no one knows what's going to happen or what we can achieve, but looking at the transfers we're heading in the right direction,” Gulum said.

Wellington Phoenix's Filip Kurto took out the Goalkeeper of the Year Award
Western United goalkeeper Filip Kurto won Goalkeeper of the Year in 2018/19, after starring for Wellington Phoenix

"The club can make finals in the first year with the players we've signed.

"It should be our ambition to play finals in our first year. I know one thing and one thing only – and that's to win games.

“I've always been at a club where you have to win every game and that's how you have to look at it. We're going to be a team that when teams play us, they'll struggle."

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