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AUCKLAND FC - AN INTRODUCTION


Who are Auckland FC?

Auckland FC are the newly formed Auckland-based A-League team. They become New Zealand’s second professional football club after Wellington Phoenix. Auckland FC is not to be confused with Auckland City FC or Auckland United FC, who are both semi-pro side who play in the Northern League.


When will Auckland FC start playing in the A-League?

Auckland will be home to an A-League team for the 2024-25 season, which will commence in October 2024.


Who are the coaching staff?

Australian Steve Corica will take charge of Auckland FC from the outset. Former All Whites coach Danny Hay has been named as his assistant, while Terry McFlynn is Head of Football.



Who is Steve Corica?

As a player, he is best known in English football for his time at Wolves. He was at Leicester prior to that, having made the somewhat unheard of move from semi-professional in Australia to the second tier of English football. Returning to Australia to join Sydney FC, via a short stint in Japan, the technically gifted Corcia’s playing days came to an end following a rupture to his hamstring on the final day of the 2009-10 season. It is at Syndey FC that Corica gained his managerial experience. He learned his craft in youth team and assistant coaching roles, taking the top job for 2018-19, winning the Grand Final that season. This was followed up in the 2019-20 season by the A-League/Grand Final double. This, though, was the pinnacle of Corica’s time at Sydney. He was let go just 3 games into the 2023-2024 season, with his team having scored 0 goals in that time.


Do they have any players yet?

Technically no, not yet. Teams cannot sign players who are already tied to contracts until 1st June, although the club has previously said that they had signed 7 players and had wanted 15 in place by mid-March. (They cannot confirm the names of these players as many will currently be contracted to other clubs). They have however appointed a player recruitment specialist in Doug Kors. He has previously worked with Corica as an analysist at Sydney FC and is a show of real intent from the Auckland outfit.


Who is behind Auckland FC?

Financial backing comes from Black Knight Football Club, an investment entity owned by American Bill Foley. The group also owns AFC Bournemouth in the English Premier League, who have managed to establish themselves as a solid top-tier team despite having one of the lowest revenues in the league. Bournemouth are known as a good footballing side and play an attractive brand of football. Historically they back their managers with time – something ill-afforded to Premier League teams, so don’t expect any hasty decisions to be made at management level if Auckland FC take some time getting their footing in the A-League.


Where will they play their home games?

In short, Mount Smart. The 25,000 seater will host Auckland FC for its ‘first few seasons’ according to Foley. Much has been made of the clubs desire for a purpose-built stadium in downtown Auckland, with plans for a 50,000 seater in Quay Park receiving largely positive feedback. Having the stadium in a central location, as opposed to the inconvenient and industrial Mt Smart location, would surely help to foster a connection between the club and the city, with supporters and venues benefiting from pre- and post-game hospitality rituals. Atmosphere building in the hours before a game in pubs around the stadium is one of the best aspects of live sporting events, and something that cannot be achieved at Mt Smart. The sooner Auckland FC get into a city-centre stadium the better.


Could Auckland FC win the A-League any time soon?

Well, compared to other top-tier football leagues, the A-League is a relatively even playing-field. Salary caps, foreign player caps and a minimum of 3 players under the age of 20 means teams cannot just pump money into stacking their squad. Add to that the fact that Corica won the Grand Final in his first full season in management, and the double the season after, and it’s fair to say Auckland FC have given themselves every chance at a strong start to life in the A-League. Western United also provided a ray of hope, having proved that success can come early in the life of an A-League team. They won the league just 3 years after their formation.


Do Auckland FC have any supporters yet?

The Port is Auckland FC’s independent supporters’ group. You’ll find them in the South Stands Bay 22 on game days, and in Britomart pub The Chamberlain otherwise. The Ports crest is infinitely better than that of the club and will make a much better tattoo for those hardcore fans. The Port claim to be a more European-style of supporter group than New Zealand are used to, but staunchly distance themselves from the term ‘ultras’. While they want to build an atmosphere of chanting on game day, encouraging people to ‘go nuts’, they are proudly inclusive, as long as you’re supporting Auckland FC.

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