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Storm in an English tea cup

Danny Milliken has settled and is making his mark with the Northern Storm club in the new North Coast Football League.
Danny Milliken has settled and is making his mark with the Northern Storm club in the new North Coast Football League.

By MITCHELL DALE

WHEN Englishman Danny Milliken decided to pack up his young family and leave the Old Dart for Australia, he did it with a dream of coaching football at an elite level.

Two and a half months later and Milliken, a former professional coach in England, has to be content with mentoring North Coast Football League club Northern Storm, a position which only pays 'beer money'.

It's hardly what Milliken envisaged for his move Downunder.

But, he says he simply didn't realise how hard it would be to get work at Coffs Harbour, especially in soccer circles.

"I used to work at St Albans, a semi-professional club in the Conference League, and I had intended to coach (full-time) out here as well," he said.

"But there is not a lot around in Coffs, I didn't realise it would be this hard.

"This (moving to Australia) is something we always wanted to do, but once we were accepted (for a visa) it was a very big decision to give up our house and get all our boxes shipped over.

"We've settled in well and the people are very friendly here."

However, Milliken may have to consider a shift for his family ? wife, Paula, and children Callum, 7, and Holly, 2 ? if work does not become available.

"I need full-time work, which is hard to find in Coffs," Milliken says.

"I've been told there would be plenty of work (in football) if I went to Sydney or Brisbane, but we really like the Australian country life."

For the moment at least, Milliken is happy to be coaching Northern Storm, who are undefeated and flying high in the NCFL premier league competition with a win and a draw to start the season.

"It (the standard of football) is definitely a step back to what I'm used to in England," he says.

"I think it is a cultural thing, over there it is just football, football, football.

"Kids are brought up on it in the UK, whereas some of the young kids at the Storm have not watched a game on television for years.

"But there is great enthusiasm at the club and hopefully I can help out."

However, Milliken also realises he won't be able to get the Storm to play his brand of football overnight.

"It will be a long process," he says.

"I can't come in here and demand what I want straight away.

"A lot of the players are individual-minded, they think to be a good player they need to run the ball for 20 seconds, whereas a good player to me is one who can get the ball and pass to keep play moving.

"But I am quietly confident that we will finish in the top four.

"There are some very good players at the club, Kane Cofed and Kynan Corsi look pretty good and so does Lance Ferguson up front."