Western United make their Hyundai A-League debut in five days.
In the lead-up to the club’s historic first game in Wellington, here are five things you may not know about the A-League’s newest team.
The club is building a brand-new purpose-built stadium.
A first for Australian football, Western United will build a privately owned 15,000-seater stadium in Melbourne’s western suburb of Tarneit.
The stadium will bring fans closer to the pitch than ever with a surrounding precinct.
Thirteen home games in 2019/20 will be held across Geelong and Ballarat.
GMHBA Stadium in Geelong and MARS Stadium in Ballarat will be home for United’s first season in the A-League.
The Green and Black will play nine games at the 36,000-seater GMHBA, while four games will be held at the 11,000-seater MARS Stadium, including a Good Friday derby against Melbourne City.
United will feature in six derbies against Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City
The A-League new boys will play their Victorian rivals three times each during the season, with three of these coming at home.
United face City twice at home – once each in Geelong and Ballarat, while a blockbuster round 9 clash awaits against Victory at GMHBA Stadium.
Eight Western United players have represented their national team.
Alessandro Diamanti and Panagiotis Kone are the most experienced international players in the squad. Diamanti represented Italy 17 times, including at Euro 2012 where he scored the winning penalty in the quarter-finals against England.
Kone played 28 times for Greece – three of those coming in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Other internationals include Australians Josh Risdon, Scott McDonald, and Connor Pain, while Andrew Durante, Besart Berisha and Ersan Gülüm have represented New Zealand, Kosovo and Turkey respectively.
Four Western United players have won an A-League championship.
There’s certainly no shortage of A-League experience in the squad, with championship winners Besart Berisha, Connor Pain, Aaron Calver, and Andrew Durante set to wear Green and Black this season.
Berisha has remarkably won four A-League Grand Finals, while Durante won the Joe Marston Medal for his man of the match performance with Newcastle in the 2008 Grand Final.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
United’s first home in the A-League is Saturday, October 19 against reigning Premiers Perth Glory at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.
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