Wanderers appoint Crook, re-sign Topor-Stanley

Former Sydney FC coach Ian Crook re-joins the assistant ranks after agreeing to fill the position left by Ante Milicic at Western Sydney Wanderers.

Crook will play a crucial role in the set-up and development of the club’s youth academy.

The former National Soccer League Coach of the Year sensationally resigned from the Sky Blues in 2012 after just six games at the helm.

But his presence will bring experience to Tony Popovic’s backroom staff after Milicic’s departure for a Socceroos post.

Crook’s appointment was not the only announcement of the day. Wanderers foundation player Nikolai Topor-Stanley put pen to paper on a new three-year deal that will keep him at Pirtek until the end of the 2016/17 season.

The defender shares the record for most Wanderers appearances in the A-League with Ante Covic - both players having taken the pitch 57 times.

Topor-Stanley, 29, said his decision to move from Newcastle to join the Wanderers in 2012 transformed his career.

“After the first couple of weeks with Western Sydney I knew that moving to the Wanderers was the best decision of my life,” Topor-Stanley told the club's website.

“I trust completely in Tony Popovic, his vision and how he wants the club to be run.

“I am really pleased to be given the opportunity to continue working at a club like this and I am looking forward to future challenges with the Wanderers.”

Meanwhile Crook is delighted to be reunited with Popovic who he originally crossed paths with in 1997 playing for J-League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

The 51-year-old made his name playing in the English topflight as a dynamic midfielder. He made his senior debut with Tottenham Hotspur before signing to Norwich City where he was eventually inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.

Speaking on his own appointment Crook said: “I’ve been out of the Hyundai A-League for 18 months and while it was good to have a break I’ve really missed coaching so I’m looking forward to getting back into it."

He added: “It’s incredible what everybody has achieved here at the Wanderers, they’ve set a fantastic platform and hopefully it will continue going forward.

“It’s about improving day-to-day so that is what we’ll look to do.”

He made special mention of the club's passionate fan base.

“The fans of Western Sydney are the talk of the whole sporting world, not just the football world," he said.

“Everyone is talking about the RBB and what they’ve brought to the game. It’s a special atmosphere at Wanderland, the fans made it that way and I’m really looking forward to experiencing it.”