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The case for Tasman United


By Mark Sheehan

As you know, New Zealand’s sunshine capital has submitted an application for a license to the 2016/2017 ASB premiership.

The application has come from Nelson Bays Football who are essentially the governing body locally under the name Tasman United.

The Tasman United catchment encompasses the top of the South Island and draws upon 140,000 people, and with the application supported by all the clubs in Nelson and the Marlborough district gives combined playing numbers of around 4,500.

For many years the closest available national representation has been a five hour drive to Christchurch or a big swim to Wellington, so players have to leave the region to regularly compete at that level.

For the last 7-8 years Nelson Bays football have been investing into the development structures for representative players, as well as ensuring fiscal prudence and excellent administration locally. It is for this reason that Nelson found itself in the position to be able to apply.

Men’s national team is a natural step in the pathway for the region’s players coming through the grades and schools, to youth, then federation level (Mainland Grade).

Tasman United have faced all the same questions of the other applicants, and these have been represented in the application.

In terms of players, we are current National youth grade champions, National Secondary School champions, and our top club side has been first or second something like 7 out of the last ten years of Mainland grade.

The facilities at Trafalgar Park are world Class, located in the centre of the city and has regularly held top level sports, including a Canterbury Wellington football game that had 2500 attendees.

From a financial perspective, the governing bodies’ finances are robust, and an external analysis of the viability of the franchise was conducted, in which 1, 3, and 5 year budgets were compiled.

The buy in from the community to this point has been astounding, both from the football and wider community, including business, funders and sponsors.  There is a real passion from locals about where we live and there is no doubt that passion will flow onto the playing field should we be successful.

If we are unsuccessful it would mean that there are at least two very, very good applications, which is great for NZ football. If Tasman United are successful, we intend to bring very high standards of coaching, administration and football to the premiership that have been borne out in our success at Youth, School and Men’s winter grade levels.

[This is the sixth in a series of guest posts from bidding entities stating why they would make great ASB Premiership clubs. I have now been in communication with all the new bids that I am aware of. I’m not sure if all will participate in this feature yet, but I remain hopeful. With all the information out in the open, us fans are much more likely to understand the bids and in turn the decisions that NZF ultimately make.]

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

3 replies

  1. Hi Mark,

    Congrats on Tasman/Nelson lodging one of the more compelling bids.

    However it is inescapable that previous Nelson national league entities have suffered from severe financial struggles, most pointedly in 1997 when NZ Soccer sought to dump them for failing financial criteria (only to have it reversed in court) and in 2000 when they were forced to withdraw altogether with money woes.

    Even with good spectator support (gate money rarely accounts for more than 15 per cent of budget) it is a real battle. So what has changed with Nelson’s (external) financial analysis this time around?

    WCC prizemoney notwithstanding, the most important funding stream these days tends to be community grant funding, which unfortunately usually requires a vast catchment of loser pokie machine addicts from within the district where funding is being sought.

    Question: Is Nelson big enough to generate sufficient numbers of hopeless pokie addicts to fund this bid? (It’s a relatively small catchment compared to the huge hinterlands of the other bids.)

  2. Hi Bruce I enjoyed your Sitter publication in the late nineties when I was in the Northern Divisions. I cant comment on the club team down here in 1997 as I have no idea sorry. I did have some involvement in the working party with the Tasman United regional application and was comfortable that the financial case was sustainable and made for a competitive bid. I guess we will find out on Wednesday if the decision makers agree!.

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