It’s been 26 years since Preston Lions – then known as Preston Makedonia – last played on the national stage.
According to Club President Zak Gruevski, however, a return could be on the cards – sooner than you might think.
“We don’t like to get ahead of ourselves at Preston, but we are an ambitious club, we do want to get ourselves out of State League 1 and into the NPL tier, and hopefully we’re not too far away from doing that,” Gruevski told FNR’s The Lions Den on Thursday night.
“Our aim is to make this proud club great again – and I’m not intentionally using a Trumpism there!
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t aspire to play in the second division, whether that takes us two, three, four plus years to get to that level.
“We’ve had some preliminary conversations, and our fans should be excited that we’ve started work on the next phase of our strategic plan, which will take us through to 2025.
“That will be a fundamental aspect of our football program – to play at that level.”
Gruevski also commented on whether Preston would change their name back to ‘Makedonia’, following the recent repeal of the National Club Identity Policy.
“At the moment as a club, we’re only starting to consider the potential implications of what these changes actually mean.
“Having been exposed to the politics of football here in this state as a board member in recent times, I can say that many of the changes that occur at a national level then have to be implemented, enforced and dealt with at a state level. Football Victoria is responsible for managing that change.
“Right now we’re not in a position to make any change – we need to seriously consider the implications and what that means for the medium to longer term for the club.
“This don’t require an urgent response – it requires a considered response.
“We’ve got three matters of unfinished business this season, and for that reason we won’t be distracted by NCIP – or any other issues that come up.
“Those three things are:
- Seeking promotion for our Men’s team
- Our application to the federation to secure a Junior NPL licence for 2020
- With the revamp of our Women’s program, we’re aiming to capitalise on any mooted changes to the Women’s NPL structure, and give ourselves the best chance to become the first club in the City of Darebin to secure a Women’s NPL licence
“Clearly we’re a membership-based club, and at some point the club will make a decision. We will consult and discuss these things with our members – we don’t live on an island as a committee, we appreciate that.
“But right now, we don’t want to be distracted from the main game.”
Preston are currently four points clear at the top of State League 1 North-West, with a blockbuster match-up with 2nd-placed arch-rivals North Sunshine Eagles coming up this Sunday the 28th of July.
Kick-off is at 3pm at Genis Steel Stadium in Reservoir.
The Lion’s Den is the official Preston Lions club show, broadcast live on FNR every Thursday from 8pm AEST.
Listen live on www.footballnationradio.com or watch on the Preston Lions Facebook Live stream.