Wellington Phoenix long-serving Club Captain and record appearance holder, Andrew Durante, will depart the club following the conclusion of his contract.
Durante, 37, joined Wellington Phoenix in 2008 from Newcastle Jets after winning the 2007/08 Hyundai A-League Grand Final and named the Joe Marsten Medal winner for the best player in the final.
Durante was named club captain on arrival in Wellington and went on to make 273 appearances for the club, with 11 of those in a Finals Series.
The player added to his many career accolades and cemented his place in history as a Hyundai A-League legend by achieving 300 league appearances, a league record, against the Central Coast Mariners in January 2019.
The celebration took place at Westpac Stadium in front of the biggest Wellington crowd of the season as he captained his side to a 3-2 win.
Wellington Phoenix Chairman, Rob Morrison, thanked the long-serving Captain on his legacy and service to the club.
“It goes without saying that Andrew will be missed.
“His leadership, determination, and fight for the club shirt has been unrivalled and he has been a huge contributing factor to the success the club has seen over the years.
“He leaves a legacy, one that will stay with the club and the fans of the club for years to come.
“While we discussed both playing and management options for Andrew this year and beyond, we understand his reasons for calling time here at the Wellington Phoenix.
“As we say goodbye to Andrew, we must also say thank you to Sarah Durante for her support and friendship with everyone at the club, including past and present families who made the move to Wellington.’’
Durante said the decision to leave Wellington was the hardest of his career.
“Obviously this decision was an extremely hard one, one that I wrestled with for many nights but I felt the time is right for me and my family to move on and experience something new, and face new challenges together.
“I have given everything I could possibly have given to the football club both on and off the pitch and I feel now it’s time for someone else to help guide this club forward.
“I’ve had some of the best moments of my life whilst playing for this club and I wish it all the success in the future.
“There are so many people to thank during my time at the club for the past 11 years.
“Rob Morrison and the Welnix ownership, thank you for your support and efforts both towards me personally and this club.
“All the staff and players that have come and gone, thank you for your friendship and for making my time at the football club so enjoyable.
“Last but not least, the fans and people of this city, thank you for accepting me as one of your own.
“We have ridden many highs and lows together but your support throughout for myself and my family has been nothing short of incredible.
We want to thank Andrew and his family for their contributions to the club and wish them all the best with their future.
Andrew Durante’s Wellington Phoenix Highlights
- 2008 Pre-Season Cup final, losing out narrowly on penalties to Melbourne Victory.
- Wellington Phoenix Hyundai A-League debut in the 1-1 draw against Queensland Roar in Round 1 of the 2008/09 season, eventually leading the club to a sixth-place finish that season.
- In the 2009/10 season, Durante marshalled a defence that conceded the least amount of goals in the history of the club to date, with only 29. This eventually led to the most successful season the club has enjoyed, reaching the Preliminary final against Sydney FC in which Durante scored an equaliser.
- Semi-Finals in 2010/11, Fourth place finish 2011/12, 2014/15 he led the side to an Elimination Final before repeating the same feat this year in the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season.
- July 2010, captained Wellington against Argentinian powerhouse Boca Juniors, scoring a goal in a 2-1 win.
- In July 2014, captained the Wellington Phoenix against West Ham United and Newcastle United, scoring a goal in the 2-1 win against West Ham at Auckland’s Eden Park.
- November 2016, becomes first outfield player to surpass 250 Hyundai A-League matches
- February 2018, became the highest capped Hyundai A-League player ever with 300 matches
Andrew Durante Achievements
- Wellington Phoenix Appearances: 273
- Hyundai A-League Finals Appearances: 11
- Huawei Player of The Year: 2009/10 and 2012/13
- New Zealand International Appearances: 24