Wellington Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert is delighted to have completed the signing of former Perth Glory and North Queensland fullback Jimmy Downey from Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam on a two-year deal.
“A recognised attacking right fullback is something we-ve been lacking” Herbert said.
“It is great to get him on board. He has had a good A-League career and has been abroad, so we know what we are getting.”
Downey, 23, is just as pleased to be joining the Phoenix, and is looking forward to being part of a team that has made Wellington-s Westpac Stadium a fortress, after experiencing the difficulties visiting sides face at the venue.
“I played there three times for Perth. I think we got battered 4-0 twice and managed a draw on the other visit,” Downey said with a laugh.
“My last A-League game, for Fury, was also an unhappy one at the ground so now I-m looking to being on the winning side plenty of times.”
A product of the Australian Institute of Sport and its Queensland counterpart, Downey, who played nine times for Australia-s under-20 side, spent two seasons with Perth Glory before switching to the now-defunct North Queensland club for the final five games of last season.
His spell at Dutch second division club Sparta Rotterdam was hampered by injury, but he has now fully recovered thanks to the help of Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons.
“Holland was a really good experience but it was frustrating having those niggling injuries,” he said.
“I was so determined to make a good impression that twice I came back too soon and suffered setbacks.
“I would love to go back to Europe sometime in the future but the best thing for me was to come back to Australia and get myself fit.
“The club (Oakleigh) have been great. They knew I wanted to get back into the A-League and have gone out of their way to help me get back to full fitness.
“Once the Phoenix signalled their interest in signing me it was an easy decision. The A-League is a great competition to play in.”
Downey is also looking forward to living in Wellington though he is a little apprehensive about the wind.
“”When you visit to play football there is no time to look round, but the thing I remember most is that every time we stepped out of the hotel I almost got blown away.”
Downey will officially join the Wellington club on June 1.