Springs goes from strength to strength
Time flies when you’re having fun.
That’s the mantra at Western Springs Football Club as they celebrate the club’s 25th jubilee.
Formed in 1989, Western Springs FC was the product of the amalgamation of Pt Chevalier FC and Grey LynnCeltic.
Both the Pt Chevalier and Grey Lynn clubs saw an opportunity to grow in membership and build new facilities.
In Western Springs’ inaugural year the club fielded eight men’s, one women’s, 10 junior and six midget teams with membership of around 375.
Western Springs now boasts 38 male senior teams, four women’s teams and 1400 junior members making around 140 teams, not to mention 400 volunteers.
These numbers make Western Springs FC not only the biggest football club in the country but one of the largest sporting organisations.
‘‘For us, growth has been curbed,’’ life member and executive committee member Stephen Lowe says.
‘‘For juniors, we could have had a lot more if we had space to put them in. We are always saying ‘I’m sorry we are full’ at registration.’’
Western Springs FC is making the most of the space it has at Seddon Fields.
two new artificial football turfs were put in allowing the club to play matches and train in almost any weather conditions.
‘‘The turf has allowed us to say the game is on and it won’t be cancelled,’’ Lowe says.
‘‘It would have to be a hell of a storm to cancel it.’’
There’s always something happening at the Meola Rd site. Whether it be trainings, football academies, school holiday programmes, or an All Whites training session, the new pitches are always in use.
Having recently acquired interim All Whites coach and exEnglish Premier League player Neil Emblen as the coach of the first division mens’ side, Western Springs is on the cusp of jumping up into the Lotto Northern Premier League.
What is obvious is the club’s focus on player development within their own ranks.
‘‘There are a lot of dollars floating around for players but it’s not what we do,’’ Lowe says.
‘‘We would rather put our funds toward providing coaching facilities and infrastructure.
‘‘We’ve got coaches developing skill sets because the kids want to learn those skills and they want to learn them early.
‘‘You don’t want to make it elitist. You want to give everyone the skills to keep going so they go ‘I really love playing this game’.
‘‘We make it so they love playing on a Saturday but if they want to take it further there are pathways in place.’’
Western Springs women’s teams have been a success winning the ASB Knockout Cup in 2007 and have been a training ground for notable Football Ferns Rosie White and Abbie Erceg.
Today Springs FC will begin celebrating its 25-year anniversary, kicking things off with a function aimed at bringing the members of the founding clubs together, followed tomorrow with a dinner at Trusts Stadium in Henderson.
Top pitch: Western Springs takes on Lynn Avon under lights on their impressive artificial turf at Seddon Fields.
Busy club: The facilities at Meola Rd are hardly ever empty.