Remodelled Melbourne Victory will rise from the ruins to re-establish themselves as an A-League monster this season, according to high-profile recruit Jason Davidson.
The 30-year-old wingback is one of 10 new signings brought in by coach Tony Popovic, as the premiership winning former Perth Glory mentor imposes his own all-encompassing influence on the club’s identity.
Having spent a season under Popovic at Glory, before going on to win the Asian Champions League with Ulsan Hyundai, Davidson believes Popovic’s
unrelenting will and the demands he places on players will transform last season’s wooden spooners.
“Popa coming in as coach was a big reason I came back home, simply to work with him again,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my time with him at Perth.
“I don’t know how things were like here before but you can see straight away what Popa brings.
“I think it was a bit of a culture shock for some of the younger boys to see the way he works.
“He’s across all the little finer details and expects 120 per cent every day.
“He expects that from the players to everyone who works in the office, and he does that himself to lead by example.”
The sometime Socceroo will provide thrust, pace and menace down the left flank as he joins the likes of fellow newcomers Josh Brillante, Chris Ikonomides (whom played under Popovic at Xanthi and Glory respectively) and a host of others.
“Victory are the biggest club in Australia with a huge fan base and should be up challenging for titles, not struggling at the bottom,” added Davidson.
“This is my home town and I want to contribute to the rebuild and help the club back to where they belong.
“It’s a whole new team and a whole new restructure from top to bottom.
“Training has been fantastic from day one and we are all on the same page on what needs to be done.
“It feels like a new family that’s been created. The progression from day one till now has been unbelievable.
“We want to start the season with a bang and create something special.”
Davidson has signed a one-year deal, with the option to stay on or pursue a move back to Asia or the Middle East next year.
“It’s easy to sign a longer deal and then become complacent,” he explained.
“It you sign a one-year deal you’re always fighting for the next contract.
“I do see myself going back into Asia or the Middle East at some point - if you perform on the pitch you never know where you’re going to end up.
“The flip side of that is if I enjoy it here and do well then I can also re-sign.
“It’s just important to me to have a big year.”