The Western United Thread

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The name is a traditional football name? The name's that suck in the A-League are the likes of Brisbane, Victory, Perth, Wellington, formerly Melbourne Heart.
I think it's the nondescript "Western" part that everyone takes grievance with, rather than the "United" part.

Wyndham United would be 1000% times better than Western United.
 

eth-dog

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I think it's the nondescript "Western" part that everyone take grievance with, rather than the "United" part.

Wyndham United would be 1000% times better than Western United.
Yeah, that's fair. I still think it's an okay name in a league with names like "Melbourne Victory" and "Perth Glory" which, simply put, suck ass.
 

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General Giant

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The name is a traditional football name? The name's that suck in the A-League are the likes of Brisbane, Victory, Perth, Wellington, formerly Melbourne Heart.
Western Utd is a traditional name? The Utd part true but the "Western"?

At least those clubs you mentioned are locations not a film category.
 

eth-dog

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Western Utd is a traditional name? The Utd part true but the "Western"?

At least those clubs you mentioned are locations not a film category.
The other names are terrible. Like the worst. Western United is an okay name, yes, Wyndham United would have been better but Brisbane Roar is horrible, as are the others I mentioned.
 

giggler99

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I think Western United is an ok name however "Western Melbourne/Victoria United" would've been better
It's a hard one. On one hand it works because they ain't playing in Melbourne for the first few years but on the other hand they ain't anything but a Melbourne club. Certainly they are not a Geelong team or any other regional town team. So what do you call them? it'll be interesting if they add a Melbourne to the name once the stadium is built. (if built)

They went with Western not only because they represent the western regional areas, but because the name also worked with Footscray when they changed to the Western Bulldogs. But the Bulldlogs had history, support and engagement in the area for over a 100 years so you can't really compare or expect the some community response and engagement. It really just was a cheap and easy option with not much thoughtout other than were from the west so lets call ourselves Western and add a 'Soccer' term in United.
 
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Elmer_Judd

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Don't you follow the Wanderers?

May want to look at your own logo..

The name sucks though.
The WUFC kits are mint though !

Anyhow I don't think they should play home games in Geelong for much longer, I know it takes time for them to build a new stadium, but even Ultras from Werribee/Tarneit way hate going to Geelong.

I would have called the team Western Melbourne Hammers myself btw.
 

Minka Beaver

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The name is rubbish - anything is better than Western United. Unlike City and Victory, they’re meant to be a heartland club and need a heartland name...but they may never make it to play in that heartland.

It all boils down to whether or not the stadium at Tarneit gets built. If they can’t get a financier to support it, then the licence will head elsewhere. If the stadium is built, then it will be on the back of other tenants getting involved - it’s unviable if it’s only used 10-12 times a year - and someone getting the surrounding land sold off for residential use.

I want this to work. Australian football can’t get better if it only has nine professional teams and Victoria needs a third side. And the colours, kit and original playing roster are great, so that’s exciting. But geez the business plan is built on matchsticks.
 

typeclub

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Wtf mate. The admins haven't even added WUFC to the teams allocated to A-League in profile editor. Lets riot!

Who are the mods around here? FFS
 

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meltiger

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The WUFC kits are mint though !

Anyhow I don't think they should play home games in Geelong for much longer, I know it takes time for them to build a new stadium, but even Ultras from Werribee/Tarneit way hate going to Geelong.

I would have called the team Western Melbourne Hammers myself btw.
I’ll be much happier once they are up and running in Tarneit, but the trip down to Geelong isn’t completely horrible. I’ve been down to all 3 games.

Anyone living in Werribee, Wyndham Vale, Tarneit it’s no longer to South Geelong than it would be to say AAMI. I got on a train that left around 9.45/9.50 & got off at Wyndham Vale at 10.15

Football on an Aussie Rules ground sucks though.

As someone from the West, it will be great to have a club based on our corner of Melbourne. Hopefully the club is able to make itself a success.

& if TypeClub is indeed a Wanderers fan ... EAD 🙂
 

meltiger

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I’d say that 4K will keep going. At least the Geelong games. How they build on that is the key.

They shouldn’t have had them playing until the stadium got built (if it gets built)

They need to get into Melbourne.
 

giggler99

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Western United they stand in soccer’s field of dreams

They’re the trio of 40-something schoolmates from Melbourne’s northwest trying to pull off a first in Australian sports business: a privately owned $180m stadium surrounded and funded by more than 40ha of residential and commercial property.
A-League soccer club Western United have huge plans, and quite a few sceptics who say they will never see a shovel in the ground on what is currently a cow paddock and that the A-League’s newest club is a disaster in the making.

Yet Western United chairman Jason Sourasis is adamant he and his team, who this week marked 12 months since being awarded an A-League licence, have the nous and funds to pull off what would be a groundbreaking Australian sports project.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Sourasis reveals for the first time some of the investors behind the fledgling club include prominent AFL footballer and Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell and NBA basketballer Dante Exum.

Along with Sourasis’s fellow club directors John Tripodi and Levent Shevki — the trio attended the Melbourne private school, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar, together — Sourasis and his investors have so far put $30m into Western United.


Eventually at least $100m will be raised in total from wealthy investors and family offices to kickstart a residential property project that will ultimately help underpin the construction of a 15,000-capacity soccer-specific stadium built by construction firm Probuild and designed by architects Populous, all part of a private-public partnership with Wyndham City Council.

In a country where all the big arenas are owned by state authorities bar the AFL’s Marvel Stadium in inner Melbourne, Western United plan within five to six years to control their own stadium, and all the revenues associated with it, and be surrounded by several new apartment blocks, housing lots, a large hotel, commercial office space, shops, bars and parkland.

Sourasis insists the project in Melbourne’s western suburb of Tarneit, about 30km from the CBD, will gain the necessary government planning approvals — and raise sufficient capital — to build a huge mixed-use project with an end value potentially in the billions of dollars on more than 60ha that he hopes to have under construction by the middle of next year.

“We acknowledge the enormity of this project and some people may find it difficult to get their head around it,” Sourasis says.

Besart Berisha of Western United FC celebrates a goal in Geelong. Picture: AAPBesart Berisha of Western United FC celebrates a goal in Geelong. Picture: AAP
“The development plan we’ve proposed, and the way we are executing that plan, has not been undertaken before in Australian professional sport. The reality is that projects of this scale are never easy or straightforward. We are well aware of the tight timelines around stadium design and construction, and I’m pleased to say that we are on track and progressing to plan.”

Sourasis and his two fellow directors head the private investment fund that owns 85 per cent of Western United, with founders Steve Horvat, a former Socceroo who is head of football, former KPMG partner Maurice Bisetto and football agent Lou Sticca each holding 5 per cent stakes.

An investment adviser who has made good profits on several commercial property deals in recent years, Sourasis is a one-time owner of a sports management agency who heads Jaszac Investments, which has clients who have invested in sporting, property, marketing and entertainment assets.

Tripodi is the chief executive of the Twenty23 marketing and media agency, which has Eddie McGuire and Paul Dainty among its board members, while Shevki is a commercial lawyer and partner of law firm Cornwall Stodart and director of AFL club Western Bulldogs.

Sourasis says the trio has long either played soccer or been fans of the sport and kept an eye on the A-League as it has grown and more recently hit some significant hurdles. The three were introduced to the investment opportunity before Western United was awarded an A-league licence by Football Federation Australia 12 months ago.

The $30m raised from investors helped pay the $18m expansion fee to FFA and working capital for the current season — during which the club is playing home games in Geelong and Ballarat and is likely to lose at least $5m — and beyond.

While Sourasis and his directors have mostly avoided the limelight in the past year, he says they have been busy behind the scenes working with Wyndham Council, with which they have struck a deal for the parcel of land (he will not reveal terms) and last week achieved a major step with the completion of site inspections including soil tests, fauna and flora and geotech analysis.

Besart Berisha of Western United gets the ball past Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas earlier this month in Geelong, Australia. Picture: Getty ImagesBesart Berisha of Western United gets the ball past Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas earlier this month in Geelong, Australia. Picture: Getty Images
Next comes gaining planning permissions, works permits and finalising a draft masterplan for the precinct. Sourasis says his group will either raise funds to build the project or could sell a stake to a property developer.

That would release funds to build the stadium, which they hope to be in within about three years, and a commercial precinct that could include a hotel, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as a training centre for the club and potentially an indoor sports arena.

If it sounds far-fetched in an Australian context, Sourasis says the Western United group is merely borrowing a model common in the US, where club owners across major sports such as American football, baseball, basketball and soccer own their venues and have developed a range of revenue-generating property projects on surrounding land.

Even so, there have been rumours of cash flow problems that have seen players paid late this season — Sourasis denies this — and that Chinese money or even Middle Eastern investors are ultimately behind the project.

Sourasis says all the investors are Australian, though the original concept was worked on by a Hong Kong consortium before they withdrew from bidding for a licence last year.

Ultimately, Sourasis insists sufficient funding will be raised.

“Football has a long history of naysayers that are driven by their own agendas,” he says. “I acknowledge what we’re attempting is not an easy task, but we are having a go. I would not have involved myself in this transaction if I thought it wasn’t a good deal.”


Ambitious maybe a little to ambitious, Can’t see it happening.
 
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giggler99

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Why didn't they move this team permanently to Geelong? Already 2 teams in Melbourne I just don't get it but they must have their reasons.
Real estate / Property deal in Tarneit
You should read through the later pages of the Non AFL admin thread on the football industry board for some indepth descussion on the matter, it'll open your eyes as to why this club exist in the first place.

 

giggler99

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Western United float idea of double-headers with City or Victory
By Michael Lynch
December 31, 2019 — 1.11pm

Could Western United stage games at AAMI Park next season as part of a double-header set-up alongside Melbourne Victory or Melbourne City?
Don't rule it out. Nor games at Footscray's Whitten Oval - which could be a match venue at some point later this season - or even at an NPL club like Melbourne Knights, whom many expected Western to tie up with in the first place.

Double-headers - if A-League bosses were to give them the go-ahead - are just one of a number of radical ideas the A-League's newest franchise is kicking about as it looks to match its on-field success off the pitch, where so far it has struggled to attract fans and gain cut-through.

The club, says CEO Chris Pehlivanis, has the licence to think outside the square, consider all options and attempt radical solutions while it waits for all the permits to be granted and construction of its planned new stadium in Tarneit to begin.

The proposal to build its own football specific stadium was essentially what made the FFA board plump for Western's bid ahead of the more-widely expected Team 11 from Dandenong when the A-League looked to expand to a third team in Melbourne.

The fact that construction has not begun is causing plenty of scepticism - something Pehlivanis acknowledges.

"Of course there are sceptical people. There always are in this game. But we have to keep planning and while we are waiting for it to be built we are looking at different ways to attract fans and consolidate our position in the west of Melbourne and Victoria," he said.

"We were very pleased with the crowd and the atmosphere we got playing at Mars Stadium in Ballarat last weekend and we are looking to build up our supporter base in the west."

Pehlevanis confirmed that negotiations to play some games this season at Whitten Oval are well advanced.

"We are looking at every option. There's the Bulldogs, we would look at any rectangular stadium in the west," he says, agreeing that the Knights venue at Somers Street could still come into play.

But it is the notion of double-headers that is the most radical kite he and his club are flying.

"We could even look at double-headers," he said. "That used to happen in the old days. Why couldn't fans who enjoy football get the chance to watch two games in one day in one stadium?

"It would depend on who you were playing. It's just an idea to throw up. We are a new club and we can try a lot of different things. Just because they are new doesn't mean they won't work or shouldn't be tried. We can try anything.

"We are exploring all options. I will definitely have another chat to the Knights and explore everything."

Whatever Western ends up doing will have to suit the FFA and particularly the broadcaster, Fox Sports, who require certain standards to be met in terms of floodlighting and advertising space for games to be staged at specific venues.

Many have argued that Western should do a deal with the Knights, a club which owns its own ground and is situated in the heartland of Melbourne's western suburbs.

It is understood the Knights did offer itself as a home from home for the first couple of seasons on condition that Western footed the bill for ground and infrastructure upgrades (including office space which the new club could have had to itself) in the first year, along with naming rights on match days and profits from food and drink sales.

In subsequent seasons it wanted rental of $200,000 a season for use of the stadium on match days and for training purposes until Western's own new venue was completed.

But no agreement was reached and Western opted for Geelong instead.

A deal with the Bulldogs could be done early in the new year if both are convinced an agreement makes financial sense.

Lev Shevki, a United board member and financial backer, is also on the Bulldogs board.

"Whatever we do we have to ensure that it's a fit-for-purpose venue but we will explore any option that might look attractive," Pehlivanis says.

GMHBA Stadium is a cavernous venue which is simply too big for the small home crowds that the team is currently attracting, leading to a dead and debilitating atmosphere.

So far Western has only picked up seven points out of a possible 21 playing at its home venue, perhaps a reflection of the lack of atmosphere there. On the road it is a different story, where Mark Rudan's side has gained 10 points out of 15 available.

Between now and the end of the regular season on April 26 there are only three matches scheduled for Western at GMHBA Stadium with the last due to be played in round 21, against the Mariners.
In that period it is also slotted in to play two more games in Ballarat.

Its draw has been heavily loaded to ensure it got a lot of games in Geelong early in the campaign, to help it build its identity in the west but also to ensure that it wouldn't be there when the footy pre-season got underway.


Double headers sound ridiculous. Maybe they should have opted for that Knights deal at Somer street in the first place.
Geelong was never gonna work unless it was an actual Geelong Franchise!
 

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