Billy Celeski goes 1v1 with the PFA to discuss his stints in the UAE and China, his difficult time at the Newcastle Jets, the effect it has had on him and his desire to seize his next opportunity.

Q. After five extremely impressive seasons at the Melbourne Victory, where you won the Championship, were called-up for the Soceceroos and for the A-League All Stars you decided to make the move to Al-Shaab. How did that move come about?

BC: It was always a dream of mine to try my luck overseas but unfortunately a knee reconstruction set me back at the time for a move to Europe. Obviously with getting a little older Europe became out of the question so I thought Asia or the Middle East would be a good opportunity. The UAE opportunity came about after my last season at Victory and on the back of the games against Man Utd and Liverpool. For a number of different reasons I wanted to try it, including a different lifestyle and culture and I really enjoyed myself over there.

Q. The next stop would be China; I imagine it was another very different experience for you?

BC: It was going from one extreme to another in terms of football and lifestyle and it was a bit of a shock. It was another experience I thought I couldn’t pass up, unfortunately things didn’t work out but I’m thankful for the opportunity and the experience. Unfortunately like in Dubai, a change in coaches meant a change in foreigners so I had to move on.

Q. Your time in China proved to be brief, was a return to the A-League your preference?

BC: Initially I wanted to stay abroad and I had a long term plan to spend a few years over there. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I had contact with a few clubs in the A-League and at the time Phil (Stubbins) and the Jets expressed the most interest and pushed the hardest and it was a case of going somewhere I was wanted and somewhere I could feel settled so I could have an impact on the park.

Q. How important was that feeling of being wanted after an uncertain period in the UAE and China?

BC: It was important, and so was being settled to concentrate on my football. I spent five years at Melbourne Victory where I enjoyed my football and felt comfortable, and then had a lot of uncertainty while I was abroad so I wanted to be somewhere I felt settled to play my best football.

Q. Unfortunately the start of the season would see you miss the opening games of the A-League. Was that difficult to take considering your eagerness to do well for the Jets?

BC: I missed a lot of the start, missing the first eight or nine rounds and then played three or four games and had a recurrence of the same injury. Since the Asian Cup though my body has been feeling great.

Q. Things took a very sudden change when the club very publicly aired its intention to unilaterally terminate your contract and the contract of four other teammates. How difficult has it been for you at the club?

BC: It has been very tough. The decision by the club was on the back of that result to Adelaide. Five players and three staff had our contracts terminated or the club attempted to terminate our contracts. It was a massive shock. Since that day it has been very hard to get any real answers from the club. My manager has tried to get in touch with the new CEO a few times with no response.

There has been talk in the media about this being a mutual thing but from the players end that has not been the case at all, we were told very publicly that we were terminated and since then we have not been able to get any real answers from the club about the situation. It’s been very disappointing.

Q. During this time you have continued to train and work hard every day, how have you managed to continue to do so in such difficult circumstances?

BC: You go to training and attempt to put your best foot forward because as a footballer you have to be professional and have pride in how you train and conduct yourself but it has been really tough to deal with everything since the club went down this path.

Q. You mentioned earlier that the body is now feeling 100 per cent, has your focus been purely on making sure you are ready in case you get an opportunity at the club?

BC: I think that is highly unlikely given how the situation has played out, which is tough because I came here to help the club be successful, its been four years since they’ve made the finals. Now I feel great in training and think I could help the team improve on the pitch. I have really focused on making sure that I get myself in the best possible shape and continue to work hard everyday in training and prepare as if I’m going to play. I’m not going to lie it has been very hard to go into training given the circumstances but I will continue to be professional and work hard every day as I have a lot of pride in my profession.

Q. That pride in your profession, do you think some people don’t understand how much that means to players?

BC: Yes, this is what we do for a living. People might forget that we have families, mortgages and long-term futures to worry about too. The type of situation like I find myself in at the Jets can also make it much tougher to find the next contract and can have a real impact on my career.

Q. Having been through this hugely difficult at time at the club, how important is it that all of the games stakeholders ensure this can never happen again?

BC: If you are a player considering coming to the A-League and in particular the Jets given this has happened here, this could put you off and that damages the whole league. Australian football has worked too hard to accept this type of behavior and there should be no place for it, as it’s not in any ones best interests.

Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with members to gain an insight into the life of a professional footballer.