Wests chase next year’s national league


It’s more than a year away, but the wheels are al­ready turn­ing for Western Sub­urbs to have a pres­ence at foot­ball’s national level.

The En­deav­our Park, Whitby, club fell short in the Cen­tral League this sea­son, but con­tin­ued to im­press with ex­cel­lent results against the likes of Olympic, Mi­ra­mar and Napier City Rovers.

The side was largely made up of teens from Ole Foot­ball Academy, many of whom had come through the Wests ju­nior grades, chair­man Dean Ea­gar said.

‘‘It’s great to see how these young guys are go­ing now, and shows what amaz­ing tal­ent Ole is pro­duc­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘At New Zealand age-group level, Wests would be the sin­gle most represented club.’’

Late last year New Zealand Foot­ball called for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for two clubs to join an ex­panded national league, played each sum­mer.

Welling­ton is, at this point, represented by Team Welling­ton - linked very tightly with the Mi­ra­mar club - and the Phoenix re­serves.

Wests were among eight bids and missed out to Eastern Sub­urbs, from Auck­land, and the newly-cre­ated Tas­man United.

The Porirua club’s devel­op­ment man­ager, Gavin Larsen, said they pre­sented a solid case but were knocked back be­cause they needed to show more proof of fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity and gov­er­nance.

He was philo­soph­i­cal about the un­suc­cess­ful bid but equally de­ter­mined the grass would not grow un­der Wests’ feet.

‘‘Late next year we get the chance to bid again for a place and we’ll be ready. I’m go­ing to lead a steer­ing group to en­sure that the next time this op­por­tu­nity comes up, we’re go­ing to grab it.

‘‘It’s just about fit­ting to­gether the right pieces of the puz­zle.’’

Larsen and Ea­gar were not keen on go­ing into the par­tic­u­lars of how the fi­nan­cial side of the bid would work, but did in­sist Wests would not be propped up by gam­ing trusts.

‘‘With that sort of set-up, you’re only one de­clined [fund­ing] ap­pli­ca­tion away from tip­ping over. We’re look­ing at a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing things,’’ Larsen said.

A re­vi­talised bid, and Wests’ tem­plate for the fu­ture, in­volved close ties with the com­mu­nity and Porirua City Coun­cil. A national league team might be based at Porirua Park, Larsen said.

Dean Edgar and Gavin Larsen said Wests would not be propped up by gam­ing trusts.

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