It all began in February 2018 when Football Federation Australia announced that the A-League would be expanding from 10 teams to 12 in the 2019-20 season.
Western Melbourne Group was one of eight bids that were offically accepted by the FFA and then in December 2018, it was announced that Western Melbourne was to join the A-League for the 2019-20 season. A second club, Macarthur FC is to join the competition in 2020-21 but for now we will look at this season’s new team.Embed from Getty Images
Western Melbourne became Western United Football Club on February 13, 2019 and announced that their primary colours would be green and black. Home games will be played in Geelong until the completiton of their own boutique stadium in Tarneit in Western Melbourne.
Now that we’ve got a name, the colours and a stadium, we might need some players and a coach. Let the signings begin!
who’s who in the zoo?
Let’s take a look at some of the names that Western United have signed as there are some familar names, some not so much.
Probably the biggest signing in my opinion would be that of Alessandro Diamanti. The 36 year old Italian has played in some of Europe’s top leagues (EPL and Serie A) and represented his country on 17 occasions including Euro 2012, where Italy finished runners-up.Embed from Getty Images
This is a huge coup for both the new boys from the West and the A-League. Diamanti will wear Number 23 in the Green and Black this season and will play a big part in helping WUFC get up and going in their inaugural season.
Other key signings for WUFC include Josh Risdon (WSW), Scott McDonald (Partick Thistle), former Melbourne Victory players Sebastian Pasquali and Besart Berisha, Filip Kurto and Andrew Durante (both Wellington Phoenix) and Panagiotis Kone (AEK Athens).Embed from Getty Images
The gaffer for WUFC is Mark Rudan, who last season was in charge of Wellington Phoenix and took them to the finals last season.Embed from Getty Images
On paper the Western United have a very strong squad with a really good spread of local and international talent. Having a quick look at the squad, I’d say the strongest part of the team is the defensive unit. Aaron Calver, Andrew Durante, Ersan Gulum, Brendan Hamill and Josh Risdon give WUFC plenty of options across the back and will be tough to break through week in, week out.Embed from Getty Images
I anticipate that WUFC will finish 5th and play finals in their first season. They will hit the ground running this weekend and beat Wellington 2-0 in Mark Rudan’s return to NZ.