Arsenal begin backroom overhaul by signing Australian fitness genius

There were many rumours about the boardroom tussles at Arsenal with Ivan Gazidis aiming to bring in more help for Arsene Wenger to manage the team, including a Director of Football and other talented coaches. Well it seems like Ivan has got a small victory in that department with the news from Australia that the Gunners have persuaded the AFL fitness guru Darren Burgess to move back to the Premier League. His official title at Port Adelaide is a high performance manager.

Burgess knows our League well as he previously led the fitness and conditioning department at Liverpool between 2010 and 2013 before joining Port Adelaide.

The news of the agreement was broken on the AFL Sunday Footy Show and according to one of the pundits, Kane Cornes, it will be a massive loss to Port Adelaide. He said: “If he has to leave, it’s almost as big as losing your coach mid-season,”

“That’s how important these people are. This would be a massive blow for Port Adelaide. He’s a genius”

Anyone who has watched Aussie Rules Football will now how much fitness is required to get through each game, so if Burgess is one of the best in his role he could be an excellent addition to Arsenal’s backroom staff, and hopefully the first of many improvements ahead of the new season.

Perhaps Gazidis is showing some influence over Wenger after all…..

Can any of our Australian readers give us some insights into this signing?



  1. Seems a token gesture. So Gazidas does not look a complete tool. We already got someone, he too was said to be one of worlds best upon his arrival not long ago. He worked with the all blacks.

    1. In all respect, SF has done well and our players are not as bad as they used to be, some of the issues are either out of his control like Cazorla or long term which happened prior to his arrival.

      Does the player not have influence in their own rehabilitation? Mindset can be a strong thing and if players are weak in the mind…
      Alexis is a fighter and gets himself fit asap.
      Vieira would do the same.

      Does Theo? Or is he happy to take a wage and just do as told? Don’t stress about it, stay positive blah blah blah…

      Although Kos is getting more and more injuries, we know if he can play then he will fight to make himself fit to do so, part of the reason why we love him is because he is so dedicated to AFC.

      Ramsey? Fight to be fit or take his time? Outside of internationals I mean 😛

    2. Gooner from Australia here not a Port Adelaide fan however I can tell you he will be a great addition. Port Adelaide football club are famous over here for over running teams in the last quarter because off thier superior fitness and have an awesome track record with injuries since he came back. Burgess worked at Port Adelaide for 6 years before he went to Liverpool FC and helped them to finish top 3 years in a row and the premiership in 2004. Watch how fit our players will be next year and we finally may have the guy to sort out our injury problems. People at Port Adelaide football club are saying he is that important that it’s like loosing thier head coach mid season.

  2. I thought we have Shad Forsythe who worked with the World Cup winning German team.
    Does he still work for us or did he leave?

    Anyway, if this guy can help us that would be cool too.

    BTW last season was one of our best seasons when it came to amount of injuries
    We had most of our players for most of the season.

    Although one injury Cazorla was devastating
    We were so much better with Cazorla

    1. I believe SF still works for AFC, why not get a team of experts and reap the benefit?
      As you highlighted, we had a good season for injuries, should we not consider SF had a part to play in that?

      Could still be better, nothing is perfect so I am happy to hear we are getting more expertise in the club.

  3. Rumour
    Alexis is happy to stay at Arsenal if Wenger signs more “winners like him”.
    If that’s true then That seems totally reasonable
    It shows he isn’t totally obsessed with money.
    He just wants to win trophies

    We have around £200 million to spend
    We have deadwood and average players we can sell to free up salaries.

    And I bet Alexis is just like us. We are not asking for 10 world class players. Just a few. Like a couple of forwards and another CM

    If this will get Alexis to sign a contract then Wenger will be an idiot not to do it.

    1. Also if Alexis wants £300,000 per week then we should give it to him. He is the only player we have who deserves more than £200,000 let alone £300,000

    2. Nicely said 🙂

      If we also consider how Silent Stan cares more about bumping his share prices than actually winning (which I believe) then that also works in favor of keeping Alexis if we can by spending on a few players.

      Alexis is no doubt a good source of income for AFC, not only in his goals but also in merchandising and attracting foreign fans who adore him, if I can see this then I am sure our experienced money grabbing owner also knows this.

      Dropping out of the UCL has cost us, I think I read it has cost AFC just under £50 million, this is… Awch to Silent Stan imo.

      Sell Alexis for around £50 million to City to cover the UCL loss and in the meantime that loss will result in lower income, not hundreds of millions but it is still an income which boost share prices.
      Invest what you have saved the past few years (or most of it) and get new assets which as I said will increase AFC value, get some ‘winners’ in and get Alexis to sign a new contract.

      Which way do you think will benefit the share price of AFC the most?

      I dislike Silent Stan but I kinda trust him to be a greedy git and maybe there is more profit in spending that we first think?

      Oh and also, Pogba hit stupidly high figures in shirt sales, I read £190 million in 3 weeks! That paid for the player and earned the club a profit… I wouldn’t be surprised if Silent Stan would like a piece of that pie and part of the reason why Wenger has been told to invest.

  4. Port Adelaide currently 4th of 18 this Season, this move would hurt especially as we are mid season, much like like loosing the head coach if the the players believe in his methods. We should expect more aerobic/stamina ttraining if he employs his work with port

  5. Heard about this new fitness guy the other day but also heard all the existing backroom staff had been re-signed on improved contracts. Wenger yes men!

  6. As someone else said this is just a token hiring. AFC players fitness is not one of the issues holding us back.

    Last time I looked fitness coaches didn’t decide on footballers positions, the tactics and Man motivation..

    Now if they get a new tea and biscuits trolley lady then we are good to go!

  7. Does he cost 200m?

    Que one of the following
    Sanchez and ozil stay sign another mediocre player and the dillusional group say”that’s where the money went” Sanchez or/ozil leave prob Sanchez as no one decent wants ozil and we sign a couple of mediocre players

  8. Two experts can do more than a single expert.
    Well done Gazidis for getting this guy in.

    Maybe AFC have a lot of evaluating to do and decided to get someone to focus heavily on that for the next 12 months while SF continues working with the players for games and training?

    Maybe not.

    Anyway, hope we keep improving with our fitness and we also keep strengthening the club.

    1. Two experts can do more than a single point, yes excellent.. now back to Wenger, why does he oppose the idea of director of football? Won’t that make 2 experts working for the benefit of the club? Even Bould was made to watch and be like a statue while the expert one is doing everything from the GK, defense to attack, and tactics and diet, training and so on..

      The dictator should just think of the club and not just himself.. AKBs should reason logically

      1. This is very late and unlikely to be seen, but excellent response. Two heads are better than one, more people pulling in same direction is a bonus, you’d think. But when we are talking about the decisions that matter most, Wenger wants all of the burden so to receive all of the glory, or just totalitarian. Why does Midkemma not see that as an excellent point you made seeing as he remarked how two heads are better than one.

  9. Maybe the loss of income for not getting into the Champ League will inspire cash / player injection –

    Well let’s hope so!

  10. The whole situation seems odd and bizarre to me. Wenger CANNOT do everything. He looked stressed last year, he was too thinly spread to manage all the aspects of the club that he wants to, he is getting older and he will have to retire soon, so Arsenal need an infrastructure in place so the transition is not too painful. Surely he realises that he will stand less chance of continuing in his job, unless he gets help in certain areas, as the stress will surely cut short his potential time at the helm. He is doing himself, the club and the supporters no favours by continuing to be so stubborn, if this indeed is coming from him.

  11. Well said gmv8
    Im one off the biggest Wenger outs out there, however I realised late in the season it was to late to let him go and find the right replacement at the end off the season. They did say they where going to restructure the club to make the transition to another manager easier in 2 years before the end off the season but it’s looks like now we have been lied to again. I would like nothing more than Wenger to prove me wrong and win the league and champions league however under the current structure I don’t think he has it in him anymore. Like you said he is almost 70 years old and in my humble opinion he needs help. We need a David Dein type person we need strong people around the manager who have the balls to tell him when he needs to do things differently. Every great manager has had a strong person close to him and since David Dein left Wenger has gone backwards . 13 years ago I would have let Wenger sleep with my wife I love and respect the man for what he has done for the club, but unless he is willing to accept change in the structure off the club unfortunately I don’t think he can take us any further. I believe a top modern manager like Guardiola, Allegri, Conte, Sampioli, Anccelotti, Simeoni and maybe even Pochettino could win the league and get to the very late stages off the ECL with this squad with no additions, because they have the right people around them and are not afraid to lean on them. The days off a manager doing everything thing within the club are in the past and until Mr Wenger accepts that we will not get anywhere.

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