Competitions

Veteran Maguire’s experience to help Bluebells’ finals charge

June 24th, 2022

 Jacob Briers


Most in Newcastle football already know the name Josh Maguire.

Now 41, the Newcastle Breakers product possesses a sizeable resume within football and is highly valued within the West Wallsend setup.

Starting his career at the Breakers, Maguire quickly found his way to Europe with Steaua București (now FCSB) in Romania, signing a lucrative five-year deal.

Unfortunately a leg injury forced Maguire back to Australia and the cessation of his contract only 18 months in.

“After going overseas at 19 and signing [a professional contract] with such a big club, it was a massive eye opener for what I knew I could have achieved and how good the standard was there,” Maguire said.

Following the injury Maguire had a couple of stints with Highfields Azzurri (now Charlestown Azzurri) and Blacktown City.

The return to state-level football and the experience gained in Romania ultimately earned him another shot on the national stage, this time for New Zealand Knights in the newly formed A-League.

“I went down to Blacktown and [received] player of the year in the NSW Premier League. That’s where I got picked up for the New Zealand Knights,” Maguire said.

“Playing in front of my family when we came back and played the [Newcastle] Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium was a highlight because a lot of my immediate family haven’t got to see much of my football as it had always been overseas.”

But Maguire only spent one season in the A-League during his whole career.

Instead spent most of his footballing life in south-east Asia.

After initially joining Hồ Chí Minh City FC in Vietnam, Maguire did not take long to find himself a highly reputable club.

“They’re called Persebaya Surabaya. They [used to get] 60 to 70 thousand people to home games,” Maguire said.

“Surabaya is the second [most populous] city in Indonesia, so the following is massive. The games we were playing were quite good competition.”

Maguire described the derbies in Indonesia as intimidating.

“[Persebaya have a rivalry] with Arema,” Maguire said.

“When we played them, which was only a 40-minute drive, the hatred and rivalry was pretty intense.

“When we stayed in our hotel, [the government] would bring armoured vehicles to escort us to the stadium and then from the stadium, all the way back to our city.

“The Arema fans would line the streets and throw rocks and bottles at us when we went into the stadium. [Then after the match] we’d have to get locked in the stadium for two hours to make sure we were safe to get back into the armoured vehicles with police, so it’s pretty full on.

“Indonesia is quite a decent league.”

After the memorable season with Persebaya, Maguire also plied his trade for Semarang United and Bali Devata in the Indonesian league and one season in India and one in Cambodia.

Despite the lure of luxurious beaches and holiday destinations to stay in during the off-season, Maguire’s heart never left Whitebridge.

“Every time there was a three to five month break when I was playing in south-east Asia, I’d always come back to [Charlestown] Azzurri if the timing was right just to keep ticking over and playing round the clock football instead of just sitting on some beach for four months,” Maguire said.

“I spent a lot of time coming back to Azzurri and having fond memories of playing for that side.”

After the successful stint overseas it was around 2014 when Maguire decided that it was best to settle in Australia.

“You just know when your career is winding down when you reach a certain age and I knew, with starting a young family, it was time to stay [In Newcastle] rather than go back again,” Maguire said.

Maguire has mainly played for Charlestown since returning. But he has also had stints with Weston Workers and Lake Macquarie City in the NPL Men’s NNSW and a season with Swansea in the Zone Premier League, where they won the championship.

Maguire now calls Johnston Park home.

Before moving to West Wallsend, Maguire was in the Belmont Swansea fold for a couple of games before making the switch.

“I’ve known [West Wallsend coach Darren] Sills for a long time,” Maguire said.

“I knew Sillsy through the NPL set up when I used to play in that league. When I left Belswans I was still looking for a club obviously wanting to still play. We got talking and now I’m [at Westy].”

Maguire is enjoying his time in Northern League One and West Wallsend so far.

Unfortunately in his return to Blacksmiths Oval against Belswans, Maguire and the Bluebells went down 4-1 despite showing quality, especially in the first half where they led 1-0.

“It was disappointing to lose but we showed good signs. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” Maguire said.

Personally Maguire is taking it week-by-week in terms of his body and playing football but is not planning to leave the sport any time soon.

“At my age, I think I have to take it week by week. I still think I’m doing okay, it’s just how the body holds up,” Maguire said.

“I’ve been sore for 10 years now after games, so it’s no surprise come Sunday or Monday morning when we play the day before but I’m enjoying myself.

“But it’s a good, fresh start with a new club and I’m starting to get my coaching badges as well.”

Maguire will have his coaching qualification by the end of the year.

While it may be one of his last seasons on the pitch for the veteran, his presence in the Newcastle football scene does not look like ending any time soon.

Related Topics:
Josh Maguire West Wallsend

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