Have you enjoyed your time here? I’ve absolutely loved it. The city itself, the country, the people. The atmosphere is great too, you wake up, it’s sunny; you go to bed, it’s sunny. It’s just a different way of life. I’m going to be devastated to go back.
Is this your first time in Oz? No, I came here once with Leeds United, when Terry Venables was manager. But what you see as a footballer is few and far between. We would just head straight into the Crown Casino. Which isn’t such a bad thing, ha ha.
Have you started saying ‘soccer’ yet? Only when I talk to people out and about in the streets. Because if you mention football they think you’re an AFL player. Nah. It’s definitely ‘football’ for me, that’s where I’m from. A fair few of my Sydney teammates called it football and some soccer. I tried to change it – to football.
They do talk a bit funny down here, don’t they… We were in the dressing room on my first day and you’ve got to wear thongs in the showers to stop you getting any fungi and things on your feet. So, I’ve heard one guy say to another, “Can I borrow a pair of your thongs?”. And I’m thinking, “These guys are weird, man – they share each others’ underwear!” I didn’t twig until I saw a guy pass his flip-flops.
Can you surf yet? No. I used to body board back in Cornwall. But the lads have been trying to take us out surfing. I failed miserably. I can catch a wave on the body board though.
What do you think of Sydney? It’s quality. Absolutely loved it. I’ve done the bridge climb twice. My mate’s been taking me out on his boat, going fishing and whatnot. It’s incredible. I love the place. There’s so much to do and always something going on. I’ve been to the Hunter Valley as well, that’s lovely.
Have you had any stick for being a Pom? When I arrived the lads give us some suntan lotion – “Factor 50 Pommie juice” they called it. They were going on about the cricket, but I can’t stand the sport. I give as good as I get, don’t worry.
The Sydney manager was sacked three days after you arrived. Was that strange? It was strange at first. All the boys back home were sending me texts, saying “What the hell you done – getting the manager sacked after three days!” But Kosie [ex-Arsenal player John Kosmina] came in and has been a breath of fresh air – he’s been inspirational. He’s a genuine guy and the lads enjoy playing for him. If you enjoy playing for the manager, you’re going to perform on the pitch and that’s what’s happened. He’s a one for hard work, but he’s a one for letting the boys enjoy themselves. We have been doing like team bonding things, having meals and stuff.
Does the standard of the A-League compare to say, the Championship? The bottom half of the Championship and the A-League are pretty similar. Some days it’s bore-draws here and some days it’s bloody goals for fun, like. I’ve been well impressed with it. Could Sydney survive in the Championship? Yeah, definitely.
Would you encourage more players from Britain to bring their boots Down Under? Yeah, definitely. Now the league’s picked up, it’s got a name for itself. People are taking notice of the A-League now. There are [Aussie] players coming back here from the Premier League. It’ll encourage a lot more of the boys. Once they’ve got everything in place it’s going to be quality.
Lastly, where next for Michael Bridges? I’ve got to go back to Hull City, until the end of the season. Then I’ve got a two month break, the off-season. Then another year left at Hull. Then we’ll see what happens in August, because I’d love to come back over here somewhere. It’d be good to come back for a whole season this time.
The A-League is in Finals Series stage, where the top four teams, including Sydney, play off to decide the champions. For more on Sydney, visit http://www.sydneyfc.com. For more on the A-League, visit http://www.a-league.com.au.