Despite only arriving last year and being hailed at the club for his work, Darren Burgess will join the A-League’s Southern Expansion as a special High Performance Advisor upon them being granted a new A-League licence.

The Australians made the announcement on their official website when they released a statement saying, “Renowned Australian sports scientist, Darren Burgess, Director of High Performance at Arsenal FC in the English Premier League (EPL), will be joining Southern Expansion as a special High Performance Advisor upon the Club being granted a new A-League licence, it was announced today.

“Mr Burgess has been at Arsenal since June 2017 after being “hand-picked” for the role by former Manager Arsene Wenger. He previously held key technical positions at Port Adelaide AFL Club, where he was High Performance Manager and Liverpool FC, where he was Head of Fitness and Conditioning, working with Managers Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers.”

The statement also said, “Southern CEO Chris Gardiner said Mr Burgess will join Southern as an external High Performance Technical Advisor, from his in-house role at Arsenal, working closely with Southern’s Head of Football Craig Foster.

“Darren has worked at some of the biggest Clubs in both football and AFL and to have him joining Southern is a coup and it further strengthens the solid coaching and operational framework our Club already has in place,” Mr Gardiner said today.

“Working with Craig, his main priority will be to develop a high-performance structure for the Club, providing support and advice for our coaches and technical staff on training routines; technical analysis; and injury prevention and recovery, with the aim of giving our players the best chance of achieving their best performances.

“Given his wealth of experience in both Australia and the UK, Darren will mentor and train our coaches and allow us to leverage his international networks and tap-in to the very latest, cutting-edge sports science research.”

“Southern Chairman Morris Iemma welcomed Mr Burgess’ appointment, saying he would play a key role in supporting the Club’s coaches and A-League and W-League players, both on and off the field.”

The news comes as something of a surprise given how highly-regarded Burgess is although there seems to be some confusion regarding whether or not he will actually be leaving Arsenal or working remotely.

Arsenal brought in Tim Parham after Unai Emery arrived at the club and it could be simply about bringing in his own personnel. Burgess was, as mentioned above, reportedly ‘hand-picked’ by Arsene Wenger after all.

The Southern Expansion announcement is dated 13 July. Parham’s announcement came two days later.

Parham, who was in charge of Port Adelaide Power’s rehabilitation programme, will join Arsenal at the end of August.

“It’s obviously disappointing, the timing, but ultimately he’s going for an opportunity at a world-class club on a world stage,” Port Adelaide manager Chris Davies said when the news was announced.

“The AFL’s soft cap means you can’t compete from a dollars perspective with some of these big overseas clubs and I know his wife was keen to also work over there, so it was a great fit for him, disappointing for us but a good reflection of our program that we’ve got high-quality people working in it.

“Tim came to Port Adelaide when Burgo did so I’m not sure what role Darren had in the decision-making process but no doubt Darren will know what he’s getting when Tim gets there,” Davies added.

“We’ll be able to maintain it for the rest of the year, we’ve got enough good people that can do that now but for 2019 we’ll have to replace the role.

“From our perspective, Mackas (Ian McKeown) has done a good job in conjunction with Stu Graham (head of sports science) and also Tim O’Leary, our head of medical services, so we’re comfortable with where they’re at at the moment.”

Parham worked for Port Adelaide for almost four years, starting there in November 2014 and working alongside Burgess. He previously worked for GWS Giants, and the South Australian National Football League.

He holds two degrees, one in Physiotherapy and another in Applied Science (Human Movement), Exercise and Sports Science.

Tim can be followed on Twitter here.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.