The burning ambition of Western Melbourne Group’s A-League bid has been laid bare with the fledgling outfit targeting Celtic captain Scott Brown as their inaugural marquee, should the club land a license.
WMG’s Lou Sticca, the man who brought Dwight Yorke, Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono to the competition, has recently returned from the UK where he was prospecting for marquee players and a European coach.
Also responsible for securing Celtic as previous exhibition match tourists to Australia, Sticca declined to comment on the 33-year-old Scottish teammate of current Socceroos Tom Rogic and Daniel Arzani being lined up as a high-profile acquisition.
However legendary Socceroo and former Rangers defender Craig Moore was more forthcoming, declaring that Brown could be a “dominant presence” in the A-League, should WMG be one of two teams from eight aspirants admitted to the competition in 2019-2020 at an FFA board meeting next month.
While Brown has won eight Scottish titles, four Scottish Cups, five League Cups and 55 Scotland caps during his 17 years in the SPL, Moore - who spent a decade at Ibrox - remembers him as a cocky kid starting out with Hibernian who has gone on to back up his rapid-fire on-field rhetoric with a glittering career.
And he believes the energetic and extrovert midfielder has “plenty left in the tank”.
“He’s a confident person and has showed that right from the start of his career,” he said.
“He’s somebody that you love or hate. If he plays for your team you love him and if he plays against you, you hate him.
“He’s a very good player and has been a fierce competitor for many, many years.
“I don’t know what his personal and family situation is and whether he’d be open to a move here.
“But if Western Melbourne got in and were able to sigh him, they’d have an enforcer on their hands who would be a plus for the A-League.
“He might not have a massive range but he’s influential because he dictates the pace of matches.”
Brown has been a Hoop since 2007 and is in the midst of discussing a new Parkhead contract as his current deal expires at season’s end.
He has ambitions to eventually transition into coaching, a pathway which WMG would no doubt help pave for him were he to join them.
“He’s a player who can work the crowd and enjoys the theatrics of the game, whilst also being a leader and a fierce competitor,” added Moore.
“He’s played Champions League, Europa League and still has plenty in the tank.
“He has all the tools to dominate in matches, and there’s no doubt he’d be able to do that in Australia.
“His presence would be a positive for the game here - whether or not it will happen, I don’t know.
“When a youngster at Hibs (the way he worked his) mouth and how he conducted himself on the field wasn’t much different to what it is now.
“The only difference is he has some serious runs on the board now and there’s a lot of credibility behind everything he does.”