Ellis Dunton try pastures new
CIRENCESTER TOWN defender Ellis Dunton played his last game for the club on Saturday – and he could not have picked a better one writes Danny Hall of the Wilts and Glos Standard.
The 22-year-old, who flies out to a new life in Australia on Thursday, contributed another immense performance as Brian Hughes' side dealt out a 3-0 drubbing to Southern Premier League leaders Poole Town.
Dunton, who recently chalked up his 150th appearance for the club, will be following a well-trodden path from the Corinium Stadium to the other side of the world. Former Centurion Matt Smith made such a success of his move down under that he captained an A-league side Brisbane Roar and forced his way into the Aussie national team.
Dunton hopes the switch will lead to his playing professional football full-time. "I've always wanted to try my luck abroad and Australia was on my short list of places," said Dunton.
"I have no financial ties like a mortgage, no girlfriend and I live with my grandparents, I have joined a hosting family scheme in Adelaide. I've been able to get a working holiday visa for a year and will basically become part of their family. My trade is working on home improvements and the father of the family is a chippy and says he can get me some work. I'll do some football coaching with one of the teams his kids play for and start playing football myself. A school friend did something similar in the States, stayed with a host family for a year and a half and loved it.
"I'm aware how well Matt Smith has done in Australia and Marc Richards, who is senior Football manager at Hartpury College also spent three years over there. Rico used to coach me as a kid in the Cheltenham area so I know him well and he has followed my career. He was very positive about the idea and thinks I am more than good enough to make a go of it as a footballer in Australia. He has a lot of contacts in the Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney areas which could eventually be a help."
Dunton has developed into one of the first names on the Cirencester Town team sheet with a string of high class performances and he has the potential to play at a higher level than the Southern Premier. A left-sided no-nonsense defender – and the best one-on-one tackler at the club – he is armed with a torpedo long throw and the athleticism and heading ability to be a genuine attacking threat at the other end of the park.
"I'd love to play football full time and I think there are better opportunities for me over in Australia," he said. Collectively it makes sense; hopefully I can play a good standard over there and I am attracted to the lifestyle. I've been thinking about it for a year but it was only in the last six weeks that I have cracked on and done it.
"Obviously the dream scenario would be to start playing football, which is classed as a skill, upgrade to a full visa, get a work permit and stay a number of years to play the game professionally. If it does not work out I simply come back after hopefully a very enjoyable year."
Cirencester Town boss Brian Hughes said: "Ellis has been a proper Ciren lad through and through at all levels in the club.
"It's a massive loss but he's still a young lad who wants to see the world and there's more to life than football after all. Ellis is someone who could play at a higher level. He's strong in the tackle, a great header of the ball, two-footed – he has everything, and what he lacks could be sorted by full-time training. I've mentioned him before to managers at a higher level but so few want to take a chance on lower league players these days."
Dunton insisted: "I feel it is the right time to go. Cirencester are looking safe in mid-table. Had they been flying and in contention for promotion I might have waited until the end of the season. We had a difficult patch but stuck together as a group and training has been very lively recently. The atmosphere is so much better than it was four or five weeks ago and that has been reflected in our results.
"I could not have picked a better game to finish on. A clean sheet and a 3-0 victory against the league leaders thanks to everyone contributing to a great all-round performance. I'm more than happy."