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“I’M ON THE WORLD GAME’S DOORSTEP,” SAYS JOE

Back in July, Joe Montemurro stood in the Hickey Foyer at Parade’s Bundoora Campus, reminiscing with the likes of Angelo Sticca and Clinton Moran at the 30-year reunion of his final year class of 1987.

Late next week, he’ll be on hand at Holloway’s Emirates Stadium in London, talking shop with the Arsène Wengers and Steve Boulds of this world, as the newly-appointed Manager of Arsenal Women. 

Joe’s incredible elevation to the position at one of the world’s most famous sporting entities was effectively activated on the strength of a telephone conversation.

“I got a call four or five weeks ago from the head of the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) in the UK with whom I had dealings a few years ago over player trades,” Joe said. “He basically said ‘There’s an opportunity going, are you interested?’, and while I was interested, to be honest I didn’t make too much of it.

“Then all of a sudden the fellow said he’d been approached by the General Manager of Arsenal Womens who wanted to have a chat with me and it effectively grew from there. They flew me over to have a look at the opportunities and possibilities, and lo and behold I’ve got a three-year deal with Arsenal.”

Forty-eight year-old Joe replaces Pedro Martinez Losa at a time when the English season is already four rounds in, with Arsenal sitting fourth behind Reading, Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies at the top of the table.

It’s been an extraordinary rise for the career manager, who lists amongst his credentials a UEFA Pro License qualification and a Masters Degree in Sports Coaching, and boasts an impeccable coaching record with Melbourne City Women.

In his first season with Melbourne City (2015/’16) Joe coached his team to an unbeaten championship-winning campaign. The City team emulated that achievement through 2016/’17, completing back-to-back championships under his watch. Which is why Joe joins Arsenal with City’s best wishes.

The youngest of three Montemurro brothers, Joe followed Anthony (1976) and John (1978) through the Parade gates. Anthony currently commits his energies to South Morang’s Marymede Catholic College as Vice-Principal, while John serves as an architect.

In 1986, whilst meeting his Year 11 responsibilities, Joe committed to NSL club Brunswick Juventus. The following year, he captained Parade’s 1st XI soccer team, then coached by John Palomares – a first-year mentor who succeeded John Pyrgos.

Though the Paradians savoured only one victory in the seven-round season (2-1 over North Melbourne at home), Joe (who also took seasonal goalkicking honors) recalled being part of a special time in the game’s evolution when soccer wasn’t generally afforded the respect commanded by Australian Rules and cricket.

As he said: “Even though it was a third or fourth-tier sport, we boys just went ahead and played – which furthers your love for the game when you just make things work out of nothing”.

Joe soon expects to take up lodgings in St Albans, north of London, “about a 20-minute train ride into central London” as he explained. He and his wife Linda will make the move in the first year, after completing arrangements for their daughter Natasha and son Sebastian, who in 2018 commit their energies as Year 12 and 10 students respectively.

So what can the women of Arsenal expect of Manager Montemurro? “I’m probably very, very empathetic to the players,” came the reply.

“I try to allow the players to solve the problems within the framework,” Joe said.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m a dictator. I would best describe myself as a passionate, empathetic coach.”

Not so long ago, Joe Montemurro was a kid chasing a dream in Westgarth Street, Northcote. Now he’s on the cusp of realising that dream, more than likely with a welcoming handshake from the famed Arsenal Manager.

“Arsene Wegner is one of those coaches I’ve always tracked and studied because I’ve liked the way he works. It will be a privilege and honor to be at the same club and in the same surroundings as him," Joe said.

“I see this opportunity at Arsenal as great honour, I’m really privileged, I’m on the doorstep of the world game and hopefully I can make it work.”