After swapping a basketball for the world game 18 months ago, Bob Turner, Executive of Blacktown City FC, is calling on the local community to head to CommBank Stadium for this Saturday’s NPL NSW Mens Grand Final as part of the ‘Men & Women In Black’ campaign.
After making the code switch last year, Turner has seen an immense amount of success on the field at Blacktown.
Although last season ended abruptly due to COVID, the American native believes Grand Final success would be a deserved prize for Mark Crittenden’s side.
“I’m only 18 months into being involved with Blacktown City.
“Last year was such a good initiation year. We were flying high and leading the competition after 17 rounds and then of course, it was canceled.
“This year we started like a house on fire and then some injuries and COVID hit us again and made life a little bit more challenging, but we hung in there and got through it and got to the Grand Final.”
For Turner, he has enjoyed a fruitful period on the pitch, but understands that this isn’t something out of the ordinary.
He knows it comes down to the work and environment that has continued to thrive for many years.
“The culture is a big part of it.
“When I contacted about becoming involved, I looked at the stadium, then met ‘Critto’ (Crittenden) and that cemented it for me.
“I knew that the program was in good hands, which to me, is critical.”
From here, it was about continuing to grow the club.
And having vast experience across multiple sporting ecosystems and knowing what is needed to help develop a club, Turner says making Grand Finals can accelerate the process immensely.
“This Saturday, we’re not just playing in a Grand Final, we’re playing at CommBank Stadium, which is what it’s all about.
“So, alongside the council and the residents of Blacktown. We came up with a campaign to wear black.
“The mayor (Tony Bleasdale) is always saying ‘Black Is Beautiful’. So let’s make sure we have a sea of black, come Saturday night, the team deserves.”
On that sentiment, it’s hard to argue.
Having gone through a rough patch, results wise, midway through the campaign, Crittenden called home two of the clubs favourite sons: Danny Choi and Travis Major.
Whose injection into the side alongside club stalwarts, has made a big difference, and could be a telling factor, believe Turner.
“That extra level of talent, and experience has really helped the team.
“Add in the Daniel Collins, Grant Lynch and Matt Lewis’s of the world, alongside the young talent, and we’re strong.
“We’re coming up against a great side in Manly, who we’ve beaten twice and then lost too in the finals.
“They have been there all year, so it sets up a great contest and in my eyes, typifies how good this competition is and how much more accepted it should be about the general public.”