Mark Milligan and Brett Emerton, pictured above, played many games together for the Australian national team, the Socceroos, including at two World Cups in 2006 and 2010.
But at this morning’s announcement that Milligan had signed to play for Macarthur FC Bulls in the 2020-21 A-League season and beyond, the pair had to think hard to recall the last time they played together.
It was Brett Emerton, now a Macarthur FC ambassador, who remembered that it was at the East Asian Cup preliminary tournament held in Hong Kong in 2012.
Milligan, like Emerton, is a Western Suburbs boy, having grown up around Auburn.
Signing for Macarthur as their marquee player is just about like coming home for the 80 cap Socceroo midfielder, one of the toughest to wear the green and gold in the past few years.
Milligan, who is 34, has just returned from the UK and English League One side Southend United, after the competition finished early due to Covid-19.
“After an uncertain finish in England due to Covid, the opportunity Ante has offered me to join Macarthur FC was something I couldn’t pass up,’’ he told the media this morning.
“To come back home and be part of a brand new club in the A-League is something I never thought I’d be able to do.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the pitch and putting in the hard work to be ready for our first match at Campbelltown,” Milligan said.
Standing next to him on the Campbelltown Sports Stadium pitch this morning, it was obvious Macarthur FC head coach Ante Milicic was over the moon with having Mark Milligan in the inaugural squad when the competition starts later this year.
Milicic praised the experience the 34-year-old will bring to the Bulls, and his organising ability at the back.
“Mark brings a wealth of experience to our club and will be invaluable to the younger members of our squad,’’ Milicic said.
“Working with him in the Socceroos across two world cups, I was always impressed by his leadership on and off the pitch.
“A Joe Marston Medal winner in 2015, Mark is no stranger to the A-League and will provide us with great structure in our defensive backline.”
Milligan becomes the fourth player signed and revealed by Macarthur FC – the third this week after goalkeeper Adam Federici and young midfielder Denis Genreau.
Mariners winger and former Socceroo Tommy Oar was the first recruit announced by the club a few months ago.
As for Brett Emerton and Mark Milligan, they will now have plenty of opportunities to recall the games they played together for the Socceroos.