New recruit Scott Jamieson says there is pressure on both his new club Perth Glory and former side Sydney FC to live up to huge expectations this season – for different reasons.
The flying left-back, 23, was released by Sydney after two years back in May and he parachuted straight into a new deal at Glory as coach Ian Ferguson strengthened his squad in a bid to go one better than last season when his side was shaded in the grand final by Brisbane Roar.
And Jamieson believes fans will only accept the best from the Sky Blues and Glory as he prepares for the A-League season-opener against Roar in the grand final rematch at Patersons Stadium on 7 October.
“Perth fans will rightly be demanding more success now after last season - and rightly so,” said Jamieson.
“We believe we can do big things this season. I knew what good players they had here when I came and it’s been even more impressive training day-in day-out.
“They sampled success in the old NSL and they haven’t seen so much in the A-League but that’s changing now and as players we’re going to embrace the expectations of our supporters and hopefully thrive.
“Sydney has the Del Piero factor and if Jason Culina signs, which I am pretty sure he will, then they are looking strong, especially when you take into account all the other signings they have made.
“But that brings with it a huge amount of pressure. The fans will be demanding goals, wins and glory. Ian Crook knows that and will deal with it.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that they will be expected to win games and win them well. If Ian Crook gets his ideas across they will be up there, for sure. That’s a jump from youth coach to first team manager but he’s equipped for it and is a good man for the job.”
On Perth’s prospects, Jamieson continued: “The team did so well last season in reaching the grand final and then losing it in a pretty harsh way, so the platform is there.
“Hopefully the new players that have come in like myself can maybe provide that little bit of difference which could see us go one better this time.
“The manager got the players he wanted and from what I can see we have a lot of depth in this squad – there are two players for every position.
“Last season at Sydney we didn’t really have the level of depth, to be fair. Coming here the competition for places is going to be intense.”
“For me, when I was told they wouldn’t be renewing contracts until they replaced Vitezslav Lavicka I pursed other options,” he said.
“I’d already had talks with Fergie at Perth and with Sydney taking their time and Perth going out of their way to sign me; it was a simple thing in the end.
“I am grateful for my two years at Sydney but I am glad I made the choice to move on and I am loving it in Perth.
“Six months before I left Sydney they offered me a contract extension which I choose not to take up, these things happen. And I have no regrets whatsoever and no hard feelings towards Sydney.”
Jamieson is one of a raft of new faces with Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory midfielder Nick Ward returning to Perth while the former Gold Coast duo Michael Thwaite and Chris Harold and former Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahra have also committed to continuing their careers in the west.
Jamieson, who turns 24 next month, sees Glory’s home form as the key to success in 2012-2013.
“Teams don’t like to come here and play in the heat and we need to make sure that we drop as few points as possible here because when we travel it’s always a big test because of the distances involved,” he said.
And would he gain extra satisfaction in finishing above Sydney?
“Not really,” he chuckled. “I wish Sydney the best but obviously hope we do better than them, I still have lots of friends there and we keep in touch.”
Perth continues its pre-season preparations next week with a road trip for trial games against Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory.
Time supposedly heals all wounds, but one month on from the A-League grand final and Western Sydney captain Michael Beauchamp is still hurting.