By Takis Triadafillou
Damon Hanlin has guided the development of Sydney Olympic for years, being a strong board member and, more importantly, loyal fan of the club.
Damon started kicking a football from the age of five and later found himself playing for Parramatta City FC for two seasons, before moving to Sydney Olympic FC.
He now leads a new squad in Greece in the form of Xanthi FC, with the task to bring the club back to the Greek Super League and thrive in the domestic competition, while training some of Greece’s prospect youth.
TGH: Damon, How do you feel that you are helping the team?
Damon: Our goal has been achieved by making the Sydney Olympic side the greatest it can be. I believe that this year, despite the difficulties we are facing, we will be able to win both cups. I believe we will succeed. We’re part of a team and even though we encountered misfortune, the fans remain close to us and I thank them.
TGH: Is Xanthi opening other perspectives?
Damon: Yes, with Bill Pappas and the technical staff, it is the bridge that connects Sydney Olympic FC with Europe.
TGH: And what does this bridge mean for the clubs?
Damon: The bridge will make it easier for overseas players to come to Australia and help Sydney Olympic and Australian football in general, which is currently plagued by many problems. Three Australian players have already transferred to Xanthi and others are coming, and it’s now Sydney Olympics turn to bring in some productive players.
TGH: What do you think about Xanthi?
Damon: I completely agree with Bill Papas and I will echo that:
“Our goal is not to win a title or waste a few million but to invest so that the team improves day by day in all areas. In the field of training, on the football pitch, utilisation of the talents in Thrace, making the team the first choice of all the talents of the wider region, in cooperation with Academies in the long run.
“And, of course, for people to come to the stadium and support a strong team, building up not only Xanthi but the whole of Greece and abroad.”
TGH: Several loyal fans are wondering, what will happen to Sydney Olympic?
Damon: Sydney Olympic will become stronger and more competitive and, of course, when the Second National Division is finally created, then they will really see the values of the team. The big problem is just waiting for the results to be born.
Xanthi FC were demoted to the second Greek football division this season before the takeover by Greek Australian business owner Bill Papas. The club has so far brought in a host of A-League talents, including the likes of Paul Izzo, Joshua Brillante, Matt Jurman and Callan Elliott.
The Xanthi FC board, with the help of new coach Tony Popovic, will use new the A-League recruits to help bring the club back into the Greek Super League.
Sydney Olympic has previously tasted the hospitality and experience in Europe with Schalke in Germany. President Bill Papas made sure to link the team with Schalke 04 to replicate the training and organisation of how a modern team should operate.
Damon Hanlin, along with Sydney Olympic, going out and connecting with Xanthi FC does not surprise us, and it gives the Director the extra incentive to succeed and raise the team where it belongs in the Super League category.
I can say with certainty that Damon Hanlin is not a simple figure in the council, but the “Soul and Body” of the club with pure motives.