From Manchester to Miramar
Posted by nickogs20 on July 8, 2009
In one of the more unusual moves of the summer, James Derbyshire has joined New Zealand side Miramar Rangers after his release by United last month. The Warrington-born 19 year-old is now Wellington-bound…
The versatile teenager was let go by the Reds this summer after ten years with the club, the last three of those as a full-time scholar. Originally a central midfielder, Derbyshire struggled to establish himself in his favoured position for the U18s and reserves, instead regularly finding himself deployed in a wider role or in either full-back position. He made 23 appearances for Paul McGuinness’ side in 2006/07, his first year as a scholar, but his playing time declined the following year and last term slumped further, with the former England schoolboy international making just seven reserve starts.
With that in mind, it always looked likely that Derbyshire would be moving on this summer, but few would have predicted the next step in his career. While other released players like Anton Bryan, Kenny Strickland and Chris Curran are still on the hunt for new clubs, James has grasped the opportunity presented to him by the Professional Footballers’ Association of relaunching his career on the other side of the world.
“When the English PFA contacted me about this, it was an opportunity I couldn’t really say no to,” Derbyshire told New Zealand paper The Dominion Post. “I thought it would be fantastic for me, experiencing a different type of football in a different country. I’m excited.”
Miramar Rangers compete in New Zealand’s Central Premier League, one of four regional leagues than run throughout the Kiwi winter (our summer), and are based in the suburbs of the capital city Wellington. They are one of twenty clubs that are represented in the New Zealand Football Championship – the main national league (held in the Kiwi summer) – by Team Wellington, who also have an affiliation with Wellington Phoenix, who play in Australia’s A-League.
This throws up the intriguing prospect for Derbyshire of playing in that competition, with Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata acknowledging there’ll be in an interest in how the English youngster fares: “A kid at that age and on our doorstep, we’ll be having a look at him.”
Derbyshire isn’t looking that far ahead though, his focus solely being on adapting as quickly as possible to his new surroundings and performing for his new side, for whom he is expected to make his debut against Napier tomorrow. “I’m just seeing how things go,” he insisted. “I don’t want to think about (playing for the Phoenix) just yet. I just want to do my job with Miramar Rangers for now.”
We wish James the best of luck.