Western United is delighted to confirm that centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley has signed a contract extension at the Club and will return for the 2022/23 season.
The experienced defender was an integral member of United’s defence in the 2021/22 season, playing 20 games, and wearing the captain’s armband on several occasions throughout the campaign.
The all-time A-Leagues appearance record holder said he feels right at home in the West and is thrilled to be able to go again for another season.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to still be able to play and compete at this level. I look forward to another year in Melbourne with my family and having the opportunity to wear the green and black,” Topor-Stanley said.
“Winning the Championship and titles are what we play for as players. It has been a whirlwind first year and we have enjoyed the success that winning has brought. The celebrations that followed will forever remain in my memory as it was shared with family and special people at this club.”
Topor-Stanley missed the Grand Final victory through injury, but the taste of success that had eluded him for so long will drive him and the team forward in 2022/23.
“Now we have to prepare ourselves again for the challenges that lie ahead, which will be even harder as with success comes added expectation, pressure and a target from the opposition. But that’s the beauty of sport in that we get to challenge ourselves to achieve something great again and one I’m personally relishing.”
The veteran defender is now at his fifth A-League club, but he believes what Western United is building is unique and something that he is proud to be part of.
“Anyone can say that the culture is great when you win a title but from my very first week being signed at the club I recognised something very different in the people that make up this club and how it was run.
“Not only is it well-resourced and ambitious, but it invests in its people. (They are) not just commodities but there is a genuine people-first mentality that pervades this whole club from the top down. It is unfortunately rare in the high-performance sporting world as expectation and pressure can often result in people being treated poorly all in the name of results. And the exciting thing is this club is only just starting to write its history which I’m grateful to be a part of.”
Western United Head Coach John Aloisi said securing Topor-Stanley for next season was crucial to his plans.
“Nikolai has been such a valuable member of our side ever since he joined. He’s really well respected by the group and by the coaches as well,” he said.
“He’s really the perfect fit here, he’s the type of person that we want to have to help grow the culture at the Club, but obviously most importantly he is a brilliant footballer and he’s shown that on numerous occasions this season.
“He’s been so important to the success we’ve had on the pitch this season with his ability both with and without the ball and we want to have that at our disposal again next season.
“I’m delighted that Nikolai was keen to stay and that the Club, and I can’t wait for the further influence that he will have here over the coming year.”
Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato said, “Retaining a player of Nikolai’s ilk is essential in shaping the culture of our football club.”
“Nikolai has been instrumental in leading and driving the clubs’ values and standards both on and off the field and he played a significant part in our success this season.
“We are delighted to secure Nikolai for one more season as we strive for continued success.”
A favourite within the group, United’s No.44 will continue to play a crucial role on the pitch and in the dressing room as the Club continues to build on the success of the 21/22 season.