Sel­wyn United ready for pre­mier level

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - METHVEN A&P SHOW - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

Sel­wyn United Football Club (SUFC) Men’s Pre­mier head coach Lee Pad­more says his side is ready for the chal­lenges ahead in their first year in the top game.

The club earned their pro­mo­tion to the Main­land Pre­mier League (MPL) af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the Can­ter­bury Cham­pi­onship League last year.

‘‘This is our fifth year now. This [pro­mo­tion to the MPL] is the cul­mi­na­tion of four years of hard work and de­vel­op­ment,’’ Pad­more said.

Play­ing on the same field as ex­pe­ri­enced MPL teams for the first time would be the ma­jor chal­lenge, Pad­more said.

‘‘We’re up against play­ers who are youth in­ter­na­tion­als, full in­ter­na­tion­als, league play­ers. We’ve got none of that.’’

But that new­ness to the league could play in the club’s favour as it gave them the el­e­ment of sur­prise, he said. While well known play­ers like Ai­den Bar­ber-Ryan or top five MPL goal scorer Dan Ede would be known by the other teams, Pad­more said there was a lot of other good play­ers that peo­ple did not know.

‘‘They don’t know how good they are and that’s just fine by me.’’

Pad­more said they would ap­proach the sea­son in the same man­ner as the last.

‘‘They don't know how good they are and that's just fine by me.’’

Lee Pad­more of his less known mid­field pack.

‘‘We’re head down, get on with it. Af­ter each game I say ‘next’. We’re al­ways look­ing for­ward to the next thing.’’

For the sea­son, Pad­more said, they had brought three more play­ers into the team: ‘‘young am­bi­tious lads’’ — two lo­cally de­vel­oped play­ers and one who had moved from Welling­ton.

The qual­i­fy­ing match against Christchurch United in Au­gust last year had been un­be­liev­able game, Pad­more said, made even bet­ter by the club’s grow­ing fan base.

‘‘There was about 300 peo­ple there, that was awe­some. When I first got here we were play­ing to just a man and his dog.’’

Hav­ing the win­ning goal of the 2-1 vic­tory come off Joe Arnott’s boot in the 91st minute had made for ‘‘a hell of a night’’, Pad­more said, and a great feel­ing for the club. He said he was es­pe­cially pleased to have club stal­warts Ger­ard De Rooy and Mar­tin Allen there to see the pro­mo­tion.

SUFC was the sec­ond big­gest sport­ing club in the South Is­land and the only one to have achieved Qual­ity Club Mark (QCM) 2-star sta­tus with New Zealand Football.

— Sel­wyn United FC’s first pre­mier sea­son kicks off at 2:30pm, Satur­day March 17 at Foster Park against East Christchurch’s Coastal Spirit.


Sel­wyn United cel­e­brate their pro­mo­tion to the MPL last year.

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