More Phoenix home games than ever in 2010/11

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC will play 15 games at home during this year’s 30-game Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC will play 15 games at home during this year-s 30-game Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

The draw for the 11-team competition was released by Football Federation Australia today, with the season kicking off on Thursday, August 5.

However, the Phoenix will spend the first round sizing up the opposition with a bye before kicking things off on-field at home at Westpac Stadium against Gold Coast United on Friday, August 13. They back that up at home against the Central Coast Mariners the following weekend.

The addition of new club Melbourne Heart for the 2010/11 means all clubs will have three byes during the regular season.

The Phoenix will play 14 regular season matches at their Westpac Stadium fortress - where they are unbeaten in 19 matches - and one at AMI Stadium in Christchurch. Last season-s match against Adelaide United at the Garden City-s revamped stadium drew a bumper crowd of more than 19,000, while Westpac Stadium hosted more than 57,000 fans for the Phoenix-s two Finals Series games in February and March.

Another significant aspect of the 2010/11 draw is the addition of midweek games. The Phoenix will play six Wednesday evening matches, with three of those at Westpac Stadium.

Of the remaining 13 regular season home matches the Phoenix will play two Friday evening matches, four Saturday evening matches and six Sunday afternoon matches.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata was pleased with how the draw had panned out for the Phoenix.

“It-s a huge job putting the draw together and there are always aspects of it that are pleasing and disappointing but it-s worked out quite well for us.”

A key focus for the Phoenix was to ensure as many games as possible would be played at Westpac Stadium.

“That-s where our support is strongest and we wanted to reward club members by staying in Wellington,” said Pignata. “Equally, we believed Christchurch more than deserved another game after the phenomenal support we got there last season. We are a proudly Wellington club but it is important for us to build support throughout the country and we will be looking to get out on the road to other centres during the pre-season.”

For the complete Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season draw go to www.a-league.com.au.