Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite says his time at now-defunct Gold Coast United will always be dear to him, but has spoken of his relief at his move to a club that is "run properly".
Thwaite - having returned from Europe after spells in Romania, Poland and Norway - spent three years at the Queensland outfit until its demise at the end of the 2011-12 season, leading the club in its final A-League campaign and winning respect for his endeavours as the off-field drama increasingly overshadowed United's on-field efforts.
The 29-year-old fringe Australia international was one of the most highly sought-after players made available when it became clear Gold Coast had no future in the competition, eventually joining 2011-12 A-League runners-up Perth Glory on a two-year deal in May.
Talking via a statement from Glory's pre-season training camp in South African, Thwaite made clear how comfortable he already felt at his new club.
"I'm a Queenslander at heart," Thwaite said. "And Gold Coast United will always hold a very special place in my heart, just as it will for the other lads that played there.
"It's only natural to feel upset about what happened there, but it's also a pleasure to now be at a club that is run properly, because Gold Coast clearly wasn't.
"It's great to be able to focus solely upon the everyday aspects of the game and the kind of leadership I can give to the team without all the other shenanigans off the field."
He revealed his relief at the effect of being at a "good, stable club" had made on his young family, while the presence of former Gold Coast team-mates Steve Pantelidis, Shane Smeltz and Bas van den Brink and Chris Harold has further helped Thwaite settle.
Glory are two games into their three-match series in South Africa, having lost 1-0 to AmaZulu in their tour opener before comfortably beating Platinum Allstars 3-0.
They face Bidvest Wits on Tuesday, in their final match.