The Wellington Phoenix will make history when they host two English Premier League sides in New Zealand for the first time in July 2014.
In a football extravaganza that will span the length of the country, sports fans will be able to experience a football event never seen before in this part of the world.
Westpac Stadium will be rocking when English Premier League clubs West Ham United and Newcastle United take part in a ground-breaking double header with the Wellington Phoenix and Australian glamour club Sydney FC in the Football United Tour 2014.
West Ham United and Newcastle United will play two exhibition matches at Wellington-s Westpac Stadium on 26 July, in matches arranged by the Wellington Phoenix with the support of the Wellington City Council.
Auckland and Dunedin will share in the festivities with games featuring the two English Premier League teams also being staged at Eden Park and Forsyth Barr Stadium.
It will be the first time in the Southern Hemisphere that two English Premier League clubs have played on the same ground on the same day.
Announcing the games today Wellington Phoenix Chairman Rob Morrison said he was delighted the club was hosting two such high profile teams.
“All of New Zealand will be able to be part of this unique sporting event, with Newcastle United journeying to Dunedin and West Ham United to Auckland, with both sides finishing their tour with the double-header in Wellington.”
Game one will feature Newcastle United playing Sydney FC at Dunedin-s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday July 22, kick off 7.30pm.
Game two sees West Ham United take on the Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday July 23, at Auckland-s Eden Park, kick off 7.30pm
The tour will then move to Wellington for a double-header on Saturday, July 26 where Sydney FC will take on West Ham and the Phoenix will play Newcastle United at Westpac Stadium.
Morrison said it was important to the Club that as many fans as possible could be part of this historic event.
“Ticket prices start at just $35 for adults and $16 for a child for the Westpac Stadium extravaganza on July 26” Morrison said.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the event is especially exciting for the City and is part of the strong working relationship between the two organisations.
“The Wellington City Council is delighted to work with the Phoenix on bringing this great sporting contest to the Capital. Our stadium’s location is ideally suited to a big match and ‘the beautiful game- will be fully celebrated in a Football Festival for everybody,” she said.
“This spectacular event will draw football fans from around the country and across the Tasman”
No one is looking forward to the tour more than All Whites captain Winston Reid.
“I-m really excited to be bringing West Ham to New Zealand in July to play a bit of footy in the Football United Tour and show them how we do things in New Zealand!,” Reid said.
“New Zealand is a beautiful country full of great people and I-m sure all the West Ham players, staff and supporters who make the trip will have a fantastic time.
“Football is really on the up in both New Zealand and Australia and we are all looking forward to meeting all the fans and playing exciting matches against two leading Hyundai A-League clubs.”
Manager Sam Allardyce is also looking forward to bringing a team to New Zealand for the first time in his managerial career.
“We-ve been busy putting together the best pre-season preparation that I-ve had, and it-s great that we-re able to go to New Zealand as a key part of that,” Allardyce said.
“The tournament in New Zealand is particularly interesting, as it allows us to promote West Ham United and the Premier League over there.
“It-ll be great for our fans in the region to see us play.”
Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, said: “We are very much looking forward to being part of the Football United Tour and to training and playing at first class facilities in Dunedin and Wellington.
“Football has grown impressively in both New Zealand and Australia in recent years, with some excellent players and teams coming to the fore, so the Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC fixtures will provide a good test for our players as we prepare them for next season.”
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says the Tour isn-t just about what happens on the pitch.
“While that will be fantastic for the fans it is about more than that,” Dome said.
“Wellington will be hosting a ‘Festival of Football- throughout the day in the capital,” Dome added.
“We want to create a weekend packed with entertainment, culture and sport revolving around the theme of football – a real family festival day out offering so much more for the fans and their families.”
“We anticipate tickets to the games will sell fast as this is a rare and exciting opportunity for football fans and their families throughout Australasia to be part of,” David Dome said.
Tickets for the Auckland and Wellington games go on sale to Phoenix Members from 30 April and on public sale from 19 May at Ticketek. Dunedin will be on sale 21 May. Details at www.wellingtonphoenix.com.
At A Glance
• Football United Tour 2014 featuring four great Clubs – Newcastle United, West Ham United, Wellington Phoenix FC, Sydney FC
• Newcastle United v Sydney FC, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Tuesday July 22, 7.30pm
• Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United, Eden Park, Auckland, Wednesday July 23, 7.30pm
• Sydney FC v West Ham United and Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle United, Westpac Stadium Wellington, July 26. Kick off times to be confirmed.
• Tickets on sale to existing Wellington Phoenix FC members Wednesday 30 April with membership renewals.
• Tickets on sale to new Wellington Phoenix FC members from Monday 12 May
• Tickets on sale to general public Monday 19 May (Auckland & Wellington matches), Wednesday 21 May (Dunedin match),
• Adult ticket prices start from $35 for Phoenix members, $59 for general public with child tickets from $16 for members, $20 for general public.
• Tickets available through Ticketek for the Wellington and Auckland events, and TicketDirect for Dunedin.