The Wellington Phoenix will face a baptism of fire in the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season after it was revealed today that they will host reigning Champions & Premiers Melbourne Victory in round one of the competition August at Westpac Stadium on Sunday 26th August.
WELLINGTON Phoenix FC today received the dream opening round fixture to launch their inaugural year in the Hyundai A-League – a home match against last season-s champions Melbourne Victory.
The official Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season draw was released today by Football Federation Australia in Sydney and pits the Phoenix against Victory at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Sunday August 26 with kick-off at 4pm.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert, who shifted from Auckland to Wellington today, said the new franchise could not have asked for a better way to start the season.
“Playing the champions at our new home Westpac Stadium, in front of what should be a bumper crowd given the tremendous support the Phoenix has already received, is just perfect,” Herbert said.
“From a football perspective it will be an ideal challenge for the team to pit itself against the best players in the A-League competition, by some way, last season.”
The Phoenix has a second round fixture away to the Central Coast Mariners the following Friday before returning to Wellington for a round three clash with Newcastle Jets on September 9 – again a Sunday afternoon kick-off.
Round four pits the Phoenix away to inaugural champions Sydney FC then another home tie against Adelaide United on Saturday, September 22.
Phoenix owner Terry Serepisos said the time slot for the opening match against Victory was ideal.
“Sunday afternoon will be a perfect chance for families from Wellington and the regions to come and see just how good the A-League is in terms of quality and entertainment,” Serepisos said.
“Make no mistake, we will field a very competitive team. The signings we are close to completing in the next few days prove that Ricki-s team will hit the ground running. I-m not interested in having a team that-s there just to make up the numbers.
“I-m personally just so pleased the FFA has given us the opportunity to showcase the new franchise in a prime timeslot, without the distractions of other major sports being on in Wellington at the same time.”
The Phoenix has also been handed two home games in group B of the Pre-Season Cup that kicks off on July 13.
The opening round will be away to the Mariners before home games – with the venue likely to be the Basin reserve – against Sydney FC on July 22 and Queensland Roar on July 29.
The Phoenix will play five pre-season matches in total, their final two opponents dependent on their group position.
Coach Herbert says the Cup competition will be vital for the Phoenix.
“Given our late confirmation to the A-League we are a bit behind other franchises on the field, so having the guarantee of five games will give me, and the team, the necessary time to get up to speed for the competition opener against Victory.” Herbert said. “It-s a great way to start the season and this is what we joined the league for – bring it on”.
Wellington Phoenix – Hyundai A-League 2007/08 Season Draw
|1||Sun, 26 Aug 07||Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||4.00pm|
|2||Fri, 31 Aug 07||Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix||Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford||8.00pm|
|3||Sun, 9 Sep 07||Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||5.00pm|
|4||Fri, 14 Sep 07||Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix||Aussie Stadium, Sydney,||8.00pm|
|5||Sat, 22 Sep 07||Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.00pm|
|6||Sun, 30 Sep 07||Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||5.00pm|
|7||Fri, 5 Oct 07||Queensland Roar v Wellington Phoenix||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||8.00pm|
|8||Sun, 14 Oct 07||Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix||EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle||3.00pm|
|9||Sun, 21 Oct 07||Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||5.00pm|
|10||Sun, 28 Oct 07||Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix||Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide||4.30pm|
|11||Fri, 2 Nov 07||Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix||Members Equity Stadium, Perth||8.00pm|
|12||Sun, 11 Nov 07||Queensland Roar v Wellington Phoenix||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||5.00pm|
|13||Sat, 17 Nov 07||Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.00pm|
|14||Sat, 24 Nov 07||Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix||Telstra Dome, Melbourne||7.00pm|
|15||Fri, 30 Nov 07||Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.30pm|
|16||Fri, 7 Dec 07||Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.30pm|
|17||Fri, 14 Dec 07||Wellington Phoenix v Queensland Roar||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.30pm|
|18||Sun, 30 Dec 07||Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix||EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle||7.00pm|
|19||Fri, 4 Jan 08||Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC||Westpac Stadium, Wellington||7.30pm|
|20||Fri, 11 Jan 08||Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix||Telstra Dome, Melbourne||8.00pm|
|21||Sat, 19 Jan 08||Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix||Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford||7.00pm|
Note: All kick-off times are local