New North Footscray coach David Battistella hadn’t planned on returning to coaching, but there was something about coaching his former club again that got him interested.
Battistella played all his football at the Red Devils before going on to coach them prior to moving on to coach East Keilor.
When he decided to step down at East Keilor, he thought that was the end of his coaching days.
But that interest returned and he was appointed North Footscray coach for next year’s Western Region Football League division 2 season.
Battistella said this wasn’t something that he had planned but returning to his old club just felt right.
“It has come up more recently,” he said.
“If I was going to coach again this was the right time. Before I stopped coaching, I had coached 11 out of 12 years and it’s a tiring job.
“I wanted to spend more time with my family. At the time had you asked if I would coach again, I would have said highly unlikely, but never say never.
“Had you asked me 12 months ago, I would have said the same thing.”
Battistella said there was the romance story of returning to his old club, but knows it doesn’t always end in fairy tales.
Battistella is bringing his own coaching panel, which includes another two former North Footscray players.
He said the reaction since the announcement had been really good.
“I said one of the reasons if I ever coached again, I’d like to coach North Footscray if the opportunity was possibly there.
“I’ve been around long enough to not go in with strong expectations. I want to build a consistent, strong and viable team.”
While Battistella has been around North Footscray for a number of years, he said he knew no more than five players from the current playing group.
He said that gives everyone a fresh slate.
“Sitting down with [president] Jason [McCluskey] and talking about what has been done, football manager Scott Kenny has done a power of work.
“He was signing up players for 2020 and now 2021. There’s a fair few new recruits.
“It started in 2019 and it’s occurred all the way through 2020.”
Battistella said he wasn’t sure whether they would get to start training before Christmas due to COVID-19 restrictions.
He said he would touch base with all the playing group in the next couple of weeks and was hopeful of being able to have a meet the coach day before Christmas.
While Battistella knows it’s a tough situation coming into a coaching role after no football this year, he said every other coach would be in a similar situation.
“It’s a tough initiation for everyone taking away 2020,” he said.
“Everyone still had to start again. It’s a brand new fresh start for me.”