Manly United credits Blacktown ahead of weekend clash


The United boss this week said much of what Manly United ? now a consistent force in the competition after winning promotion from the NSW Super League in 2004 ? has achieved was modelled around the Demons blueprint.
?It?s no secret that Manly and Blacktown have enjoyed a fierce on-field rivalry for many years and I have been a part of that as both a player and a coach for a long time,? Moss said.
?But when I took over in 2003, myself, Keith Pester (MUFC President) and Linda Ward (then Manly-Warringah Football Association president-turned Football NSW director) wanted to turn Manly United into the best Premier League club it could be and with the help of our forward-thinking boards and general manager Jeremy Toivonen, I think we are well on our way to achieving that.
?There is always work to be done and you can always improve but I think the club as a whole has improved steadily each year in all sections and there are several reasons for that.?
Moss pointed towards the willingness of the Manly-Warringah Football Association ? under president Ray Fanning, the man who replaced Ward – and Manly United boards to work in tandem for the good of the game, the magnificent complex at Cromer Park, the dedicated coaching and backroom staff, the club?s volunteers and, of course, an ever improving playing roster in both the juniors and seniors (boys and girls and men and women) as paving the way for the club?s growth.
Socceroo captain Lucas Neill has also played a major role in the club?s development both on and off the field.
But during the early days of the club?s promotion to Football NSW?s top flight competition Moss called on an unlikely ally for some direction.
?We as a club looked at who was successful at our level and Blacktown City for years had been and in many ways still is the benchmark for the state league across the board,? Moss admitted.
?Kenny (Schembri) and I have always had a good, open relationship while always respecting each other?s fierce determination to do what?s best for our respective clubs.
?I?ve picked his brains on a number of occasions and he has always been willing to share information. A lot of people don?t see eye to eye with Kenny but geez he has been great for the game in NSW in so many ways. 
?A lot of the information he has shared with me has played a part in making Manly United the club we are today.
?I?m not saying for one minute we are the new benchmark but we are certainly headed in the right direction both on and off the field.?
Manly United has been an ever-present in the finals for the past three years and has qualified for two Tiger Turf Cup finals in that time.
Ironically it was Blacktown who ended Manly?s 2007 season in controversial circumstances when the peninsula side was leading the elimination final 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining before a scorching 30m pile-driver from ex-Demons midfielder Milorad Siminovic (now Bonnyrigg) and a dramatic last-minute penalty sent the game into extra time with the home side running away with it 4-2 as Manly battled away with nine men after Roberto Hamad and Pascal Julliard were red-carded.
?That result still ranks the most disappointing of my eight seasons in charge at Manly United,? Moss said.
?We were on a roll and 15 minutes away from the grand final and I?ve no doubt if we had made it we would have won it ? we were flying.
?But we will never know now and every time we meet Blacktown that game rates a mention ? as it will this week.
?But for all the information Kenny has shared over the years, there is still no better feeling than getting one over the Demons and we?ll be doing everything in our power to ensure that is the case on Sunday night.
?There is a mutual respect amongst the players from both clubs and also between myself and ?Genchy? (Blacktown coach Aytek Genc) but when that whistle goes it?s game on.?
Manly United welcome back Robbie Cattanach, Joey Schirripa, Adam Foti and possibly Craig Midgley from injury this week.
Sunday?s clash at Cromer Park kicks off at 6pm, following the Grade 20 match at 4pm.