Joe Lolley has come a long way from humble beginnings, with the Redditch native boasting two promotions to the Premier League on his sporting CV while also representing England at C level when turning out in the non-league ranks.
He made the jump from Worcestershire sides Littleton and Kidderminster to Huddersfield in the space of seven memorable months and never looked back. His was a star on the rise – one that would take him to the very top.
Getting to know @SydneyFC's new signing 🤩
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) August 16, 2022
Lolley took in six top-flight outings during his time at Huddersfield, before forming part of the Nottingham Forest squad that ended a 23-year exile from the Premier League in 2022.
He never got the chance to rub shoulders with the elite while at the City Ground, but will always be fondly remembered in those parts.
Over 170 outings were enjoyed for the Reds, and Lolley will have been an interested observer last season as Forest successfully beat the drop.
They are 11/5 within odds on football to take a tumble back to the Championship in 2023-24, while being priced at 3/10 to keep collective heads above water once more.
Lolley has sat among Forest supporters to take in matches since bidding farewell to the East Midlands, and will have plenty of opportunity to follow their exploits from afar over the coming months.
He will have to get up very early to keep an eye on most of those fixtures – along with those enjoyed by his beloved Aston Villa – as a long and winding career path has taken him to the other side of the world.
The left-footed midfielder is a long way from home at present, with more than 10,500 miles separating his Redditch roots from a current professional base in Sydney, Australia. Lolley headed Down Under after being released by Forest.
He has said of making that move and discovering a completely new way of life in Oz: “I was told by Forest to find a new club. I did not fancy staying in England. I fancied a new adventure.
I don’t think you get many opportunities to play football and to live in such a beautiful place. I live 30 seconds away from the beach, the weather is beautiful, I get to play football every day… it’s a nice life.”
Lolley enjoyed a productive debut season at Sydney FC, with six goals and as many assists recorded through his opening 28 appearances for a team that harbours ambitions of claiming the A-League crown.
🎥 Joe Lolley headed down to Bondi Beach for his first Sky Blues interview!
— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) August 15, 2022
There would appear to be no rush on Lolley’s part to retrace steps back to England, with there too much fun to be had in the New South Wales sunshine.
There has not been too much of that on show in the West Midlands of late, so he can be forgiven for shunning any thoughts of home.
That path will be trodden at some stage, with Lolley rightly proud of where he is from and eternally grateful for the springboard presented to him by those in Worcestershire, but for now he will monitor the exploits of those on English soil from an entirely different hemisphere.