Larsen takes up role with Wests

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

He will be for­ever known for his cricket ex­ploits, but Gavin Larsen has a lot of his­tory with foot­ball.

The for­mer New Zealand cricket rep­re­sen­ta­tive and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cricket Welling­ton played Cen­tral League foot­ball for North Welling­ton in his younger days, and also coached son Corey.

Larsen is a huge Liver­pool FC fan.

‘‘I went to Anfield many times dur­ing my [cricket] days in Eng­land and was in the Kop [Liver­pool’s home grand­stand] at a few games,’’ Larsen said. ‘‘I’m a Liver­pool tragic, grow­ing up in the era of play­ers like Ray Cle­mence and Jimmy Case.’’

It was partly his love of foot­ball and partly a work­ing op­por­tu­nity that led to Larsen be­ing named last week as de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Western Suburbs FC.

He said his job as a Black Caps se­lec­tor took up half his year and that the Wests role was ‘‘of­fi­cially part-time, but I’ll be tack­ling it full­time’’.

Larsen, who has moved to Aotea, will look to raise money for the En­deav­our Park-based club through spon­sor­ships and grants, and gen­er­ally raise its pro­file.

It all be­gan with a beer at the Co-Op with mate and for­mer Wests chair­man Pete Gille­spie.

‘‘He cheek­ily asked whether my Black Caps role was full­time, I said no, and you could see the glint in his eye. I have a few things keep­ing me oc­cu­pied in win­ter, but this job with Wests al­lows me to get my teeth into some­thing re­ally worth­while.

‘‘When I move to a new com­mu­nity, I like to be in­volved in some way.’’

Larsen said Wests al­ready had a solid rep­u­ta­tion, hard-work­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers and vol­un­teers, good struc­tures from se­niors to midgets and a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with Ole Foot­ball Academy, but he was keen to keep build­ing.

‘‘This is a go-ahead club, but a sleep­ing gi­ant in my opin­ion. It has a huge catch­ment area and we’re sit­ting on some­thing spe­cial.

‘‘But they need money and my job will be to strike up busi­ness re­la­tion­ships in­no­va­tive.’’

Larsen said he was look­ing for­ward to work­ing with De­clan Edge and the rest of the Ole man­age­ment.

The high-per­for­mance and first-term cul­ture at Wests was as cru­cial as the suc­cess­ful ju­nior pro­gramme, he said.

Wests chair­man Dean Ea­ger said Larsen’s busi­ness skills and sports acu­men would be im­por­tant for the club. and be more

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Gavin Larsen has come on board with Western Suburbs’ as its de­vel­op­ment man­ager.

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