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.