Outgoing Western United boss Chris Pehlivanis has defended the club’s nomadic existence as the 2022 A-League champions edge closer to playing home games out of their training base for the upcoming season.
Having entered the A-League in 2019, United still doesn’t have a home ground, with the completion of its long-awaited stadium west of Melbourne at least two years away.
When the draw for the 2023-24 A-League season was released on Thursday, all of United’s home matches had venues “TBC” (to be confirmed).
However, club chief executive Pehlivanis – who is serving a six-month notice period after resigning from his job – said that this summer, United would start to play A-League matches at its Tarneit facility which could hold as few as 5000 spectators.
“It’s in the final stage of development, with completion on track for this summer,” he said.
“We know that we’ll be playing games there. It’s just locking it in now. We’re at the final stages, and we’re all excited.
“This is the first step in moving to the area that’s going to be home, and that’s what we’ve all been waiting for. Everyone’s doing an amazing job working together.”
In the meantime, United must find somewhere to play its home matches.
The club’s first three games of the season are away, with United’s first match at home on Saturday, November 11 against Newcastle.
At least three, most likely more, of United’s home games will have to played somewhere other than Tarneit.
“There are hopefully not that many fixtures before we can move in,” Pehlivanis said.
In its short history, United has played home games at Geelong, Footscray, Ballarat, Launceston, Hobart and AAMI Park.
“All of them are an option before we move to Tarneit. Now that we’ve got the fixture, we can work on it and go to have a discussion with them all,” Pehlivanis said.
“This is a way we can go to say thank you to those areas we’ve played in the past, and then make sure that the fanbase comes along with us on our journey as well.
“I’m sure everyone’s pretty comfortable.”
Meanwhile, Brisbane Roar’s long-awaited permanent return to Suncorp Stadium was confirmed with the draw’s release, with 12 of the club’s 13 regular season home matches to be played at the famous Milton venue.
The Roar’s other match will be played at Ballymore, at this stage on Saturday, March 16 against Macarthur FC.
Brisbane’s first home game of the season takes place on Friday, October 27 against Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium.
Roar chief operations officer Zac Anderson said: “It’s a beautiful marquee game. We’re coming home, back to Suncorp Stadium.”
Originally published as Western United without a home ground for new A-League season