Northcote City is delighted to announce that it has secured the services of attacking duo Danny Charalambous and James Papadimitriou.
The pair are former teammates having most recently excelled together for Moreland Zebras during the 2015 NPL1 season, where 14 goals for Charalambous and 18 for Golden Boot-winner Papadimitriou contributed to a promotion play-off appearance.
22-year-old Papadimitriou remained at the Zebras whilst 20-year-old Charalambous spent the first half of 2016 at Bentleigh Greens. Here is their first Northcote City interview.
Starting with you James, you had some offers at the end of the last season but felt the timing wasn’t right yet to move. Why now?
JP: It was down to a few things. Northcote approached me at the start of the season as well and the fit just didn’t seem right at the time. They kept in touch with me during the season and seeing the signings that have been made and what is happening around the club, I thought to come and play here at a higher level was a good opportunity and I wasn’t going to let it go.
Danny, would it be fair to say due to a number of factors you perhaps didn’t get as much game time as you would have liked this year? Was that one reason behind the move?
DC: I didn’t go to Bentleigh expecting to be in the starting 11 straight away. It was more a work in progress for myself. The lack of game time was a little frustrating but overall I can’t knock the club in any way. The committee, players and coaching staff and the club as a whole is fantastic to be part of. I just wanted to get some minutes in the legs before the end of this season and look forward to next year.
Is being former teammates at Moreland and showing how well you were able to compliment each other a big plus regarding signing at Northcote at the same time?
JP: Definitely. As mates we keep in touch. We speak often and we spoke about Northcote approaching us both. That was kind of what made our minds up in the end. We knew it was a good move and that was the icing on the cake.
DC: When we spoke and agreed the move it was a big driving factor and there was more motivation to keep the club in the NPL. When we signed we set a goal between us. We’re going for the right reasons, not just to finish off the season. We have a target to hit and we put that promise towards each other.
Danny, what position do you feel you can best influence the game from?
DC: Personally I’m not the fastest player so in behind the striker is probably my best position. Last year that’s where I played with James in front of me and it’s my natural position. I can play on the wing but I just have to adapt my style a little bit. You won’t get that quick winger taking on players all day, I probably tend to drift inside. But behind the striker is where I thrive the most.
You’ve already spent some time at Northcote in the Under 20s James, did that give you a good idea of the club before deciding to return?
JP: For sure. I had a few clubs approach me in the mid-season and I chose Northcote knowing people at the club and what the club is about. It wasn’t like I was walking into somewhere that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I’m well aware of how everyone works here. It’s a great club and I’m happy to be a part of it again.
What do you feel are the main differences between NPL2 and the top flight?
DC: I told Moreland that I was going to move on mid-year last year because a few NPL clubs approached me. One was Bentleigh and based on the way they play football and the club in general I decided to move there even though it took me three hours each day up and back. I went to one of the best teams in the league if not the best so I saw a massive difference. Competition-wise against other teams as well there is a difference in the pace and quality. Not much, but you can notice it. That’s one thing I said to James too when he asked me the same question. I told him you’ll notice it especially against the defenders who won’t give you as much time.
You mentioned you liked the signings being made, do you think we’re a real shout of staying up?
JP: Definitely. If I didn’t think the club, coach and team didn’t have it in them then I probably wouldn’t have chosen to come. We have what it takes and we have a point to prove to everyone that it can be done and we’re going to do it.
DC: When we spoke about coming we said there are 33 points to grab and we are going to try and get as many of those as we can whatever it takes, whether it’s grinding out a draw or a one-nil win. At the end of the day it’s not about us, it’s about the club staying up.