BALLARAT Red Devils have landed another major recruiting coup with the signing of an A-League championship player to lead the club into its new venture.
Former Melbourne Victory attacking midfielder James Robinson has been appointed as player-manager for the 2014 season, which the Red Devils hope will be their first in the soon-to-be-formed Victorian National Premier Leagues competition.
Robinson’s signature follows hot on the heels of former Australia and Leeds United goalkeeper Danny Milosevic’s appointment as football director.
The 31-year-old Robinson has agreed to a one-year contract and will officially start in his role next Monday.
“I have known Danny (Milosevic) for five or six years now and when he called me about Ballarat it didn’t take any time at all to convince me that this was the place to be,” Robinson said.
“We will look at the squad over the next two to three weeks and see what is needed to make us really competitive in the NPLV and the cups this season.
“From what I hear, we might need to strengthen a couple of positions with some top players, but it will be very much a Ballarat team that will represent Ballarat.”
Robinson, born in Liverpool, started his career with Crewe Alexandra, progressing from a junior to playing 15 games in the English Championship over three years.
Following a few stints at other clubs in Europe, Robinson came to Australia and joined Richmond in the Victorian Premier League, where he scored 13 goals in only 19 games to attract the interest of Melbourne Victory.
Robinson played only seven times for Victory, but is best remembered for his critical semi-final goal that advanced the club to its first grand final in 2007, which it won 6-0 over Adelaide. Victory also won the premiership that season.
Robinson also had stints with Melbourne’s A-League rivals Perth Glory and North Queensland Fury.
Ballarat Red Devils chairman Duncan Smith said the club had been forced to move quickly with recent news of the National Premier Leagues competition starting in Victoria this season.
“With only some 10 weeks to go until the first match of the season, it has been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. But we have now signed Danny Milosevic as our football director and are thrilled to have signed James this week,” he said.
Smith said the club was on the verge of announcing the club’s general manager.