‘I’m so grateful I’m here’ – Connor Pain still living the dream

Connor Pain Western United

After officially committing himself to Western United for another three seasons during the week, Connor Pain reflected on his time at the Club so far and what he hopes the coming years will look like.

The 29-year-old has been a permanent fixture in the United side since the Club’s inaugural match in 2019, hardly missing a game through three and a half seasons to date.

A key part of last season’s Championship-winning team, Pain said that experience has given him and the rest of the Club a feeling for what is to come.

“Everyone is so excited about what the future can hold for this club. Last season was just a taste of what we know we can do and we’re hoping to do that again in the future,” he said.

“We’re here because we want to win. Obviously the season so far hasn’t gone as planned but we know what we’re capable of, having seen us do it last year.”

Coming through as a teenager at Melbourne Victory in the early 2010s before moving on to Central Coast Mariners after four seasons, Pain earned his stripes in a very different time for the league.

At the time, multi-year deals were more or less unheard of, but Pain said being able to commit for three years now shows the development that the league has undertaken.

“The trust is getting put in the players a bit more from the clubs. That’s a massive thing – three-year deals weren’t really heard of so having that longevity at a club and the ability to confirm your future, especially when you’re getting a little bit older and things aside from football become just as important – being able to commit to three years is just a fantastic feeling,” he said.

Pain has become a fan favourite and a Club icon in the West, and over the next three seasons he will have the chance to continuing growing that reputation.

Currently standing at 92 league appearance for the Club, Pain is poised to become the first player to reach 100 games for the Green and Black, a milestone he admits would be a cherished one.

“It’s something I haven’t really had much thought about. There’s a couple of us still here from the first season that are closing in on that century mark for the club,” he said.

“The closer I get the more special it feels, and the more I can value that, but I’m always a person that I’ll find all this stuff really cool when I’m finished. I’ll look back on this time in my life with great fondness, but at the moment it’s just about keep trying every week and seeing what I can do.”

As well as commencing Western United’s 100-club, Pain could continue climbing the league-wide leaderboard with the next three seasons potentially taking him towards 300 Isuzu UTE A-League matches.

Only six players have reached that milestone currently and while Pain insists that is a long way away from the top of his mind, he said it would be quite special to be among some of the league’s greats.

“It’s pretty crazy, I’ve always come from the mindset where I’d be happy with one professional game. I’m so grateful that I’m here and have the chance to go out every weekend and do what I dreamed of as a kid,” he said.

“For me to be mentioned in the same sentence as some people that have made 300, obviously it’s a long way off now, but to get anywhere near them – guys like Toppa (Nikolai Topor-Stanley) and Dura (Andrew Durante) before him, would just be incredible obviously.”

For now, all of Pain’s focus will be on game 219, which sees Western United head to Macarthur FC with the chance to potentially enter the top six for the first time this season.