What it’s like... To change clubs

Melbourne Heart striker Dylan Macallister talks about how transfers affect the players.

Melbourne Heart striker Dylan Macallister talks about what it-s like for a player to move clubs and the effect it can have on professional and personal lives.

“A lot goes into a transfer. Most of the time it-s a new city and you‘re put into a hotel and you have to rely on somebody to pick you up and be there but things fall into place pretty quickly.

“I-ve been around a couple of clubs and I-m one of the senior players at Heart and know a lot of the others so the transition has been quite easy for me. I know what to expect; you always want to get off on the front foot. First impressions always last and you want to start in the right way, fit and ready to go, in the right shape and frame of mind.

“After that initial couple of weeks it slides from the football side to the family and making sure the family settle in well. There is a big transition period for players with kids - my son had to change schools and there are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes to help it smoother.

“There is competition when you first arrive. We-re here to do a job; no player wants to come to a new club and sit on the bench. Whether it-s a training game or first game of the seasons or just a training session, you need to be focused and ready. If the players here already relax too much then there are people waiting to take their spots.

“Me and Josip Tadic - the Croatian striker at Heart - we-ll be in direct competition for that central striker role. We arrived at the club at the same time so we weren-t that competitive straight away. He was settling in and trying to organise visas for his girlfriend but we-re right into it now and it-s definitely an important thing now.

“Sometimes you know when it-s not going to work out. It might be the same for the European players coming here, but in Europe when you arrive at a new club, it-s a new language, the change rooms are a lot different over there.

“Here everything is left on the field once you cross that white line and you-re playing to win but in Europe in the change rooms there can be little groups of players and it-s not as welcoming as an Australian dressing room.

“The A-League is quite special; it-s only been around for eight years so it-s pretty much been the same group of players.

“You don-t see three, for, five-year deals; it seems to be one or two-year deals at most clubs so at the end of every season you get this 30-40 per cent of players interchanging teams on a regular basis.

"I don-t know what the answer is for that but that does play a big part in everybody knowing everybody and there is a good camaraderie between all the clubs and it helps on the field.

“But you don-t want to be moving too much. It-s been hard for me the last couple of years. Gold Coast obviously folded, and Wellington and Central Coast didn-t work out through form and injury, but I-m settling here in Melbourne.

“I-ve got a two-year deal and it takes some of the weight off the shoulders. You don-t feel you have to be worrying about contracts finishing at the end of the season and I know a lot of players have that with these short deals - you-re worrying about which club you-re going to next or are they going to re-sign me or not.

"Hopefully in the future there will be some long-term contracts where you might see some one or two-club players, rather than 10, 11, 12-club players.

“That sort of stability can make a difference. I-ve got a wife from Norway and two young children, and we-ve moved around a lot and she-s had enough. It-s not fun living out of boxes and having to pick up and move every one or two years.

“Since moving to Melbourne I-ve learnt a lot about the AFL and 80 per cent of the players there only ever have one club. They-re on four or five-year deals, they bring them in young and show a commitment to that player.

"Maybe one day the A-League can follow in those steps and that will cut a lot of those issues out, add some stability to the clubs and bring some history to the competition. “