By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE Northern Storm have possibly pulled off the biggest coaching coup in the history of North Coast Football after gaining the services of long-serving Sawtell coach Ian Glover for the 2007 season.
When former coach Danny Milliken left Korora for work opportunities in Queensland recently, the Storm were on the lookout for a coach with the abilty to turn the potential of the club's strong junior base into a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League.
With the knowledge that Glover has gained coaching Sawtell's first grade team for the past six seasons, he can see nothing but sustained success for his new club when he looks toward the future.
"The Storm have always been competitive but have always tended to just miss out on a final four position in first grade," the new coach said.
"I think with the players the Storm have, I don't see why they can't possibly make the top four.
"And that's what Brian (Lacey) and Don (Riley) said, 'our aim is to get first grade into the finals'."
The original approach was made at the start of November but the Korora team allowed the master tactician time to mull over the choice of clubs.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make and I took about four or five weeks to make it but I liked how the club were really pro-active in the off-season, looking at signing players for the next season, the sponsorships they were putting together, it was really positive," he explained.
"It was that forward thinking that made my decision easier."
Club president Don Riley could barely contain his excitement at the brilliant piece of recruiting that the Storm have pulled off.
"With the right mix of people at the club we're going to be a force this year," Riley said.
"I think Urunga showed a different approach to football last year and I guess we're one of those clubs that thinks outside the square and looks at all challenges and tries to do things a little different.
"We've got sponsors on board this year that are very excited about the 'coup'."
It's not just the committee members who are excited. First-grade player Lee Winkler says that the players he's spoken to, can't wait to rip into 2007 now that Glover has been appointed to the helm.
"It's been really exciting, you walk anywhere in town and you see the players and they're actually happy that hopefully they can actually fight for their positions for once instead of rocking up getting first grade games even without training," Winkler said.
"It's been awesome, I can probably never say enough about how positive the guys are.
"There are other players that are going to come back to soccer and some players from other clubs are looking at coming over too. So you can see how positive it is all around for the northern region."
Urunga came from the clouds in 2006 to win a title with a new coach. Perhaps 2007 will be the year of the Northern Storm.