Western United and Calder United set their sights on Tasmania

FT CEO Matt Bulkeley pictured with WUFC and FT representatives, Minister for Sport & Recreation Jane Howlett and WUFC CEO Chris Pehlivanis. Photo credit : FT Facebook

It’s no secret that Football Tasmania have been pushing for an A-League/W-League licence and perhaps today they have filled in one of the missing puzzle pieces. A-League newcomers Western United will come to Tasmania for two A-League games in the current and 2021/22 season which will be played at York Park (UTAS Stadium). Along with this their parent club, 2019 Victorian NPLW premiers Calder United will also come to Launceston to play two games vs a team of FT state representatives.

It will be the first time that the state will see a regular season A-League match for points in seven years after Melbourne Victory hosted Gold Coast United and Central Coast Mariners. Both games ended in 1-1 draws.

Hard to believe we had the eventual Socceroos Coach Graham Arnold and Arsenal keeper Matt Ryan at Launceston isn’t it? Arnold was CCM coach and Ryan starting GK.

Graham Arnold Photo: Pless Pix
Matt Ryan coming out of the KGV rooms during a training session. Pless Pix

Since then we have only had a couple friendlies which Victory came to Kingston Twin Ovals and North Hobart Oval, both which had very good turnouts.

CEO Chris Pehlivanis spoke to the WUFC website today.

“We are excited to make Tasmania green and black,” said Pehlivanis.

“We were presented with an opportunity to work with the Tasmanian Government and Football Tasmania to not only showcase Western United’s brand of football but to bring the A-League to the state.”

“The philosophy of Western United has always been to ‘dream big’ and we believe the partnership reflects this. The shared values of being self-made and hardworking naturally align both the people from Victoria’s west and the Tasmanian community.

“In addition to growing the game of football at a grass roots level in Tasmania, our ambition is to also work with tourism bodies in Australia to give the industry a much-needed boost after a difficult 2020 and start to 2021 with Covid-19 lockdowns and border closures.

“We see sport as being in the business of entertainment, and entertainment and tourism go hand-in-hand.

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley said the announcement marked an exciting step forward for the World Game in Tasmania.

“With close to 40,000 participants, football is Tasmania’s most-played team sport and continues to rise in popularity, especially among junior players,” Mr Bulkeley said.

“The next step in growing the sport in Tasmania is to increase the A-League’s presence, and partnerships like this are integral to maintaining football’s position as Tasmania’s most-played team sport.

“On behalf of the Tasmanian football community, I’d like to thank Western United and the State Government for bringing the A-League back to Tasmania.”

Although the news has been pleasing for Tasmanian football fans, there was some backlash on social media this morning.

Tasmanian fans may have to wait a little longer for their own A-League club. It’s brilliant to have WUFC here in it’s own right but we all know that it’s only one other piece of the puzzle that’s not filled. With the State Government getting behind the A-League/ W-League bid surely it can’t be too far off before Football Fed Aus takes notice.

A proposed fan made jersey for a Tasmanian A-League side. Photo credit : Daily football show

Last week’s Southern Championship Summer Cup clash with Zebras v Metro was called off at HT due to a failure on the outdated KGV floodlights.

I refer to today’s edition of The Mercury about the current situation with funding at KGV. It’s great to see the funds have been approved, again but we need action now. We can’t keep losing lights during games as it’s a risk to staff, fans and players alike! FT and Glenorchy have a great opportunity to fix things once and for all. Hopefully sooner rather than later..

WUFC will play Melbourne Victory in the “Melbourne Derby” Saturday night while Calder United will begin their season on April 10 at home to Alamein FC. Last year’s NPLW Vic season was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.