Jun 15 2012 By Fraser Wilson
Simon Storey Image 1
SCOTTISH football might have its troubles right now but former Partick Thistle star Simon Storey could be forgiven for thinking he's seen worse.
The globetrotting stopper has spent the last three years between Europe, his native Australia and India but has returned to the secure realms of Glasgow after encountering some pretty rotten luck.
In that time Storey saw a dream move to Hungary fall through due to a club's financial plight, a return to Australia turn sour when his club went bust and a stint in India end abruptly due to some questionable coaching techniques.
Now the 30-year-old is finally ready to settle down in Glasgow with Scottish wife Sarah as the couple await the birth of their first baby.
The Melbourne-born defender is taking a break from the professional game and has turned to his physiotherapy qualifications working out of Virgin Active in the city's Finnieston area.
But the full back, who made 83 appearances for the Jags after being signed by Ian McCall in 2007, hasn't ruled out a return to football now he's back in the somewhat secure world of the Scottish game.
He said: "It's been an interesting few years that's for sure.
"When I left Thistle it was simply because I wanted to try something different, take a step in another direction. I had a few trials on the continent and looked like I had won a contract in Hungary but that didn't work out for one reason or another so I came back to Scotland and was lucky enough to get a deal with Airdrie."
After a year with the Diamonds, Storey embarked on another new chapter in his life as he returned to his homeland to play for A-League North Queensland Fury.
Back in the comfort of his homeland where he had previously won the A-League title with Melbourne Victory it all seemed to be going well for the amiable Aussie - until the football association pulled the plug on the club.
Storey said: "North Queensland Fury were a big club with some great players. I was playing under former Czech international Franz Straka and was enjoying the football but it all ended in tears as the club went under.
"Basically the FSA were underwriting the club for three years but ended up closing us down early. They said the club was unable to financially support itself and that was true at the time but there were measures in place to rebuild and become self-sufficient again.
"However, the FSA were not prepared to give the club that time.
"It was unfortunate for the players but that's life. I managed to get fixed up with a little club in Melbourne for a few months before the opportunity came to move to India."
Based in Calcutta, Mohun Bagan, were managed by English coach Steve Darby who impressed Storey with his experience of coaching in Australia and Thailand.
But it didn't take long for his Indian experiment to turn sour.
"The PFA in Australia put me in touch with the club and it seemed a good move for me at the time," he said.
"Just three days before we left my wife Sarah found out she was pregnant so it was a bit of a hectic time but it started well enough.
"We must have played about 15 pre-season matches and crowds could be as high as 100,000 for local derbies.
"Alan Gow was also out there playing for East Bengal and all seemed okay at first but as soon as we lost a couple of games the tide seemed to turn against the management and players.
"At that point it didn't matter how well you played you would not get credit. The expectation levels were ridiculous.
"It seemed that no matter your position, if you didn't score a hat trick or do something miraculous then you were a failure. I suppose it was a different culture and they were still learning the game.
"It eventually resulted in Steve resigning and the new manager, Subrata Bhattacharya, came in and had some pretty strange coaching ideas.
"It was probably the way the British game was 20 or 30 years ago. Basically they would have us going out on a long run and then playing a full length training match.
"He wasn't a fan of drink breaks and would have us training hard for hours in the heat without getting a drink. That made you soft he thought.
"But when I fractured a rib that's when my short time at the club came to an end. I reported for training and told him I had a rib fracture. He just looked at me and said 'I do not care - you go out and train'.
"He expected me to play on with an injury which was impossible and about three sessions later one of the directors pulled me aside and told me the manager wanted me to go.
"It was disappointing as it was the first time in my career I had not been wanted by a club and personal pride took a bit of a hit."
Storey hasn't played since. His decision to concentrate on his physiotherapy career has already proved a wise move and he has a number of former team mates and opponents as clients now he's back in Glasgow.
But, at 30, he knows he still has a bit to offer on the field - and admits a return to Thistle would be a dream.
"My plan was to have a little break from football and concentrate on the physio but as time goes by I'm starting to get itchy feet," he admits.
"I just have to wait and see what happens through the summer as I'm pretty busy with the business, moving house and awaiting the arrival of our first child.
"I've been lucky all through my career to have learned from the best in terms of physio work. Right back to when I was 14 or 15 and I was at the Victoria Institute of Sport where we had personal trainers and learned all about sports science and conditioning.
"It's an aspect of sport that's always interested me and I enjoy the work but I hope there's a few years left in me to play the game too.
"I loved my time with Thistle and it's probably one of the most enjoyable clubs I have been at because it's got brilliant people and the supporters are fantastic - they're a really friendly bunch and that makes such a difference for the players.
"I'll always keep an eye out for their results and hopefully get along to a few of their games. From what I have heard they have a promising young side which should do well under Jackie McNamara and Sid."