Central Coast Mariners recruit Nick Montgomery revealed he spurned offers from English Championship clubs in favour of a three-year deal in the A-League.
Speaking on Wednesday from Mariners' Centre of Excellence, where he met up with his new team-mates for the first time, Montgomery reflected fondly on his 14 years at Sheffield United, but said the A-League presented a fresh challenge.
"I'd always thought about a change and after being at one club for so long when the opportunity came up I spoke to the manager and the chairman at the Central Coast, and after I spoke to them there was only one place I wanted to come and that was here," Montgomery said.
"I did have other offers in the Championship in England but when the opportunity came up I spoke to my wife and we decided to go with it."
So well is Montgomery respected at Sheffield United, some 16,866 supporters stood as one to applaud and thank him for his years of service when the Blades played Bury at Bramall Lane on Monday (AEST).
Montgomery said the send off he received at his home of over a decade humbled him, and that he hoped to create some similar memories at Bluetongue Stadium.
"To be at a club as long as I had, 14 years, I could have moved so many times in that time but I always stayed loyal to the club," he said.
"I had some fantastic times there so to get the send off, a standing ovation in front of a big crowd was something special that I’ll cherish forever.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold said Montgomery brings experience and quality into the squad.
"We've lost some experience out of the squad, especially out of the middle of the team with Alex Wilkinson in the off-season,” Arnold said.
"We looked around for quite a while. Nick brings a lot of experience but also he's a fabulous person.
"For a player to stay at one club for his whole career shows you what type of person he is."
"He pretty much ticks every box that we needed ticked off."
Montgomery has been included in the Mariners squad to take on Brisbane Roar at Stockland Stadium this weekend.
Mariners also confirmed Italian manufacturer Kappa will be the club's official apparel supplier for the next two A-League seasons.
The club is set to unveil its new kit on friday 21 September.
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic look to have played their last games for Central Coast Mariners as the A-League champion faces a raft of departures.