A letter from the Chairman to Western United Members, Partners and Supporters.
Now that the dust has settled on an eventful and challenging 2020/21 campaign, it’s time to say thank you to all of our members, partners, volunteers, players, staff and supporters of Western United FC.
When the board and I began on this ‘dream big’ journey, we always knew there would be bumps in the road and challenges that would test us. But ultimately, we are building a club with a resilient and strong foundation.
On the pitch, we’d set an objective to qualify for the A-League Finals series. A disappointing second half of the season saw us fall short of this goal and a reset is required this off-season, but we should pause to reflect on some of the achievements that we can all be proud of.
The passionate win against Melbourne City for the first time at AAMI Park, the entertaining and jaw-dropping 5-4 shoot-out against Perth Glory in Geelong and the effort the team displayed to get across the line against Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium with only ten men was inspiring.
We saw the progression of young talent including Dylan Pierias, Ryan Scott and Luke Duzel, who each played more football this campaign than ever before in their early careers. Local ‘westies’ Adisu Bayew, Manny Aguek and Dalibor Markovic debuted for the team, showing glimpse of what the future holds for this squad.
I would also like to thank our inaugural Head Coach, Mark Rudan, for his leadership and dedication to the Club over the last two seasons.
So, while I know there has been disappointment on the field, I’m confident that our A-League squad will come out rejuvenated and ready to fire in season 2021/22.
The expansion of Western United from one team to many this season has been a standout achievement.
We established our Academy Program from scratch and have two fully-fledged teams competing in Victoria’s NPL, and I’ll add, performing exceptionally well. I have been impressed with the talent of Melbourne and Victoria’s west that we’ve tapped into and how quickly the team has been built. The effort by everyone involved has been exceptional.
We ‘did things our way’ and formed an exciting partnership with Calder United Soccer Club to birth our female football strategy. It’s been no secret that we are determined to establish a W-League team and it has been a pleasure to work on uniting our two clubs with Calder United President Amanda Stella.
The growth of our club also continued off the pitch.
The heartbeat of our Green and Black family, our members, grew to 7,054 members – a 24% increase on our inaugural year. This is a fantastic achievement considering the uncertainty of 2021, together I know we can grow this even further as we build our future in the west.
This season we welcomed a new principal partner, Simonds Homes. A family-run business from Melbourne’s west, it was exciting to see a business with aligned values and ambition join the club. Werribee & Western Automotive Group, IJ Build & Happsa Group also joined us and three of our inaugural principal partners in Wyndham City Council, Victoria University Polytechnic and Tasman Logistics continued their amazing support.
To all of the Western United partners, thank you for your effort, loyalty and patience during this season.
Progress on Wyndham City Stadium was also made this season, with the project given a key planning amendment from State Government due to its state significance.
We continue to work on our stadium project with designing underway, and the appointment of a project manager and builder also imminent.
Our team is working hard to ensure the 2021/22 season is one to be proud of both on and off the park. The Football Department will see changes including a new Head Coach, while our W-League ambition remains strong.
From the Board and I, the belief in Western United, the belief in this ambitious journey we are taking, has never been stronger.
Let’s stick together, wear our Green & Black colours with pride and look forward to being part of the journey.