Sun, sand, sea and football – is it any wonder nearly 50 English footballers are heading out to play with Australia every year?

Beyond the ever-improving A-League, having its small sprinkling of prior Premier League players, establishes the semi professional Australian pyramid that’s littered with players that have abandoned the likes of Curzon Ashton along with Lancaster City to engage in football down under.

“It’s amazing once you awake in the mornings and have the clear blue skies in the summer along with all the shores not too much off,” says Ashley Dunn, a midfielder who’s playing his fourth season in Australian football.

Sounds appealing, however how does it operate? And is the bait of warm weather and BBQs on the shore worth the choice to live and play more than 9,000 miles apart from family members and friends?

Non-league football in England’was really draining’

Having previously played for Bamber Bridge, Kendal and Skelmersdale amongst the other people, Dunn made the movement to Wodonga, Victoria to perform for newly-formed club Murray United in April 2015.

The 30-year-old, that works inside the press industry simply as he failed in England, finds it easier combining work, football and family life.

This is very vital for the footballer, that met his Australian partner Tegan six months into his fascination with Victoria, with daughter Milla Rose coming around 18 weeks later.

Ashley Dunn with Daughter Milla Rose and partner Tegan

“We play with 28 league matches a season over here and four or five in the cup,” he says. “In England I played with 50 or 60 matches per year in all competitions, including tons of Tuesday nights.

“I had been getting out of bed for work at 6am and getting back from a midweek away games after midnight – it had been really draining.”

Dunn, that trains his team twice weekly simply as he’d back home, mainly played in the Northern Premier League whilst in England (tier seven to eight). He thinks the branch he plays Murray United – National Premier League Victoria 2 (tier three) – is of a similar benchmark if not marginally higher.

“The most important distinction is the physicality for me personally,” says Dunn. “It’s maybe not exactly as physical over here in contrast to Nonleague football in England. There are some fantastic players and teams who play the perfect way.

“My game has really improved here and that I believe it’s gone to a different level.”

‘The Terrible players ‘ are so bad’

The other Nonleague footballer who had a charm down under was prior Salford City man Gary Stopforth.

In January 2017 he abandoned his life Lancashire for a fresh adventure in Queensland.

The lively midfielder, who had been looking for Stockport County from the National League North just before his death, had several alternatives at different degrees – he chose Brisbane Premier League team Michelton, that play in the fifth tier of this Australian pyramid.

“I moved to Brisbane because it’s sunny all year round,” says Stopforth, that seemed to the BBC One documentary, Class of’9-2: Out of The League.

“The standard of football was not the very best, it had been similar to northwest Counties from England and it made a bit frustrating.

“Don’t misunderstand me, there were also some excellent players on the market however the terrible ones were really bad. The organisation and the way things were done wasn’t exactly what I were used to .”

Certainly one of the primary difficulties for footballers going over to play with Australia may be that the distance.

This was a thing that became more apparent for Stopforth when his stepfather died three weeks to his period on the opposite hand of earth.

“It had been really, really hard,” he says.

“I return for the funeral and also spent about three weeks back from the United Kingdom.

“We have not got a massive family so my mother was a little lonely. When I return to Australia I had been speaking for her night and it had been very tough.”

Finally the situation became too tough, with Stopforth’s fascination in Australia finish with more than two weeks of this season remaining.

Gary Stopforth

The fixer

When some players arrange their particular relates to Australian teams, almost all use an agency to assist them find a team.

Elliot Livesey is the founder and manager of Soccer Smart – a company that’s been easing the movement of players out of England to semi professional football clubs in Australia as 2010.

“Those on our books are often regarded as marquee players,” says Preston-based Livesey, that played with Nonleague football himself.

“When the season finishes my inbox starts to fill and normally we ship up around 50 players a year.

“Some coaches say’send me the greatest player you’ve got’ and the others say’give me a left-sided centre back into their mid-twenties’. It surely does vary.”

Despite often being viewed as top quality signings, those that do make the move across to Australia don’t generally believe the benefit in their commission.

“It’s nearly precisely the same financially however the significant thing that sells this to the players would be the change of lifestyle,” Livesey says.

IE]>Murray United players and their families

This change of life is some thing Dunn has become accustomed to, but with his two-year working holiday visa today long expired he is counting on other ways to remain in Australia.

“My partner would be approving me but hopefully next few years I’ll be a permanent resident here,” he says.

“Visas can fluctuate from $400 (per pound;2-14 ) as much as $10,000 or $15,000,” he says. “It’s not inexpensive but if you want to live from the country you’ve got to get your paper work in position .”

For Dunn, living so far abroad for a long spell has been difficult, however, today’s tools is a wonderful help.

“It’s not too bad since you can face time – I make an effort to speak to my loved every couple of days through video calls and so we have a family group WhatsApp chat proceeding,” he says.

Also as his friends and family, there is one other thing that the Murray United captain misses.

“surprisingly I overlook the chicken kormas,” laughs Dunn. “They simply are not the same over this and neither are the chippys!”