EARLY GOALS: Terry Kirkham has joined the Western Pride as the U20s head coach and assistant coach of the top side.
EARLY GOALS: Terry Kirkham has joined the Western Pride as the U20s head coach and assistant coach of the top side. Rob Williams

Perennial winner brings his development philosophy to Pride

WITH more than two decades of experience moving magnets, Terry Kirkham knows the football coaching caper like the back of his hand.

Kirkham has coached senior football for longer than some of his new players have been alive.

The recently-appointed Western Pride NPL assistantand Under-20s head coach took his first senior coaching role in 2001, however he cut his teeth in junior and youth football going back to the early 90s.

With mentors the likes of legendary Langwarrin manager Gus Macleod, former Sheffield United defender Doug Hodgson and former Rangers defender Stuart Munro, Kirkham's time within the Melbourne coaching system was a fruitful one.

After an eight-year apprenticeship was followed by six years and multiple trophies as a head coach in Melbourne, Kirkham moved to Queensland and linked with Brisbane Premier League club Peninsula Power in 2007.

Over four and a half seasons Kirkham transformed the Power from relegation-threatened to premiership contenders, before becoming the founding coach of Moreton Bay United in the first year of the National Premier League.

A brief return stint to the Power in 2015 resulted in another BPL grand final victory, before Kirkham linked with Olympic FC to help revive the struggling inaugural NPL premiers.

A frustrated Kirkham then took a year off coaching after he was given just four weeks to turn around struggling Victorian NPL powerhouse Hume City.

Now refreshed and ready for a new challenge, he joins Pride excited at the prospect of continuing the club's tradition of grooming young talent.

"I had a number of offers put to me this year, some interstate as well. But I want to live in Brisbane, and the move to Ipswich, with all the work they have put in place to expand, was a big driver for me coming here," Kirkham said.

"Over the past 16 years, I've been able to introduce a large amount of young players into Premier League and NPL football - some have gone on to succeed in the A-League, and one even in Europe.

"I've had 25 years of this development process, building clubs wherever I've gone from the bottom to the top, and integrating systems that allow kids to go into (senior) teams."

Those who came before Kirkham have already laid the foundations for a highly successful club structure, both on and off the pitch.

Jordan Manning led the U18 side to a grand final penalty shootout win over Brisbane City last season, while his U20s outfit were defeated in a grand final.

Manning will stay on with the 18s next season, and receive further coaching guidance from Kirkham in that role. 

The senior team were knocked out at the semi-final stage last season, one year removed from their maiden NPL premiership success.

Thus, Kirkham will not be tasked with taking a struggling club through an expedited rebuild process but rather maintaining the strong platform for success already in place.

"We'll be chasing some players come January," he said.

"The first team lost some quality players to higher leagues. The U20s group from what I understand has also lost players to potential other first team football, which will always happen.

"We'll open up some trialling, and hopefully we will get a lot of kids come out of the woodwork who will come down excited to work in our system."