Phoenix Announce First Signings

Wellington Phoenix FC today announced its first five signings to the new Hyundai A-League club - two current New Zealand internationals and three Australians.

Wellington Phoenix FC today announced its first five signings to the new Hyundai A-League club - two current New Zealand internationals and three Australians. Heading the list is former Adelaide United captain Ross Aloisi, the 34-year-old signing with Phoenix for one year.

Joining Aloisi in the midfield will be New Zealander Tim Brown and Australians Richard Johnson and Michael Ferrante, with current New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston also signing on.

Brown, Paston and Ferrante have signed two-year deals, with Johnson signing for one year.

Aloisi was captain of Adelaide United for the inaugural season of the Hyundai A-League, leading his side to the premiership. He also captained Adelaide to the Hyundai A-League 2007 Grand Final against Melbourne Victory.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said Aloisi would be invaluable to the club. “Ross brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, as evident in his captaincy at Adelaide. His contribution to that club is shown in the fact that Adelaide has been the most consistent club in the competition in the past two years.”

Herbert said the signings of current New Zealand internationals Paston, 30, and Brown, 26, reflected his and Phoenix owner Terry Serepisos- desire to have a strong New Zealand presence at the club.

Paston played for the New Zealand Knights last season and Brown the Newcastle Jets.

For Brown the return is a homecoming, having been born in Wellington and played for local club Miramar Rangers before heading overseas.

“It speaks volumes that Tim wants to be a Phoenix player,” Herbert said.

“During the latter part of last season Tim was an integral part of the Newcastle Jets- midfield through the finals series. From a performance point of view he-s played at that high level which will be important.

“Mark (Paston) is the national team goalkeeper. His presence and performances at the back end of last year-s A-League for the Knights were quite outstanding,” Herbert said.

Ferrante, 26, made five appearances for grand final winners Melbourne Victory last season.

Herbert said the opportunity for more game time with Phoenix was an incentive for Ferrante to sign.

“He-s a different type of midfielder - a good technician,” Herbert said.

“Having been in a very successful club (Melbourne Victory), he will be looking to set a benchmark for himself with regular appearances for Phoenix. Michael-s very keen to make an impression.”

Johnson, 33, has played 35 A-League matches with the Jets and Knights, as well as 242 appearances for English club Watford between 1991-2003.

“During my time with Richard at the Knights his work ethic was unquestioned,” Herbert said.

“He-s another signing from an experience point of view that will add strength and steel to the middle of the park.”

Herbert said the release of the first signings was just reward for the hard work that had gone into ensuring the club got up to speed as quickly as possible ahead of its opening Hyundai A-League match against Melbourne Victory in Wellington on August 26.

“The process of identifying and recruiting players has been quite exhaustive over the past four to six weeks,” Herbert said.

“It-s nice to be able to bring an initial group to its conclusion at Phoenix. More signings will be released in the coming days.”


Player Profiles

ROSS ALOISI

Date of birth: 17/4/1973, Adelaide Height, weight: 1.78m, 78kg Playing position: Midfield

Club history: 2003-07 Adelaide United; 2002-03 Pro Sesto (Italy); 2000-02 Alzano (Italy); 1999-2000 Grazer AK (Austria); 1998-99 FC Lorient (France); 1997-98 FC Aarau (Switzerland); 1995-97 West Adelaide; 1993-95 Brunswick (Australia); 1992 Boom FC (Belgium); 1990-93 Adelaide City.

Hyundai A-League statistics: 2005-06 Adelaide United, 23 appearances (2 goals); 2006-07 Adelaide United, 24 appearances (1 goal). Hyundai A-League Premiership medal 2005-06, Hyundai A-League 2007 Grand Final runner-up medal.

Representative honours: 1994-99 Australia (5 matches); Under-23, Under-17; 1996 Olympic Games (Atlanta).

Biography: Aloisi was captain of Adelaide United for the inaugural season of the Hyundai A-League, leading the side to the premiership. He also captained Adelaide to the Hyundai A-League 2007 Grand Final against Melbourne Victory. Aloisi has had an extensive career in Europe, playing in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy.


TIM BROWN

Date of birth: 6/3/1981, Wellington Height, weight: 1.85m, 77kg Playing position: Midfield

Club history: 2006-07 Newcastle Jets; 2004-06 Richmond Kickers (US); 2000-04 University of Cincinnati (US); Miramar Rangers.

Hyundai A-League statistics: 2006-07 Newcastle Jets, 10 appearances (1 goal).

Representative honours: 2004-present New Zealand (All Whites); New Zealand under-23; New Zealand under-20.

Biography: Signing for Phoenix FC completes a homecoming for the Wellingtonian, having played club football for Miramar Rangers before heading to the United States. Newcastle Jets signed the All Whites midfielder last season. Brown is a solid, industrious midfielder that likes to push forward when opportunities are presented. Most recently, Brown was part of the All Whites- tour to South America under national coach and Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert.


MARK PASTON

Date of birth: 13/12/1976, Hastings Height, weight: 1.94m, 90kg Playing position: Goalkeeper

Club history: 2006-07 New Zealand Knights; 2005-06 St Johnstone (Scotland); 2004-05 Walsall (England); 2003-04 Bradford City (England); Napier City Rovers.

Hyundai A-League statistics: 2006-07 New Zealand Knights, 10 appearances.

Representative honours: 1997-present New Zealand (All Whites); New Zealand under-23.

Biography: Paston played several seasons for Napier City Rovers before heading to England in 2003. Injuries at Walsall (thigh) and St Johnstone (shoulder) restricted his appearances while playing in the UK but during his stint with the New Zealand Knights he displayed considerable athleticism and skill in goal. He was a member of the All Whites- squad to South America recently.


RICHARD JOHNSON

Date of birth: 27/4/1974, Kurri Kurri (Australia) Height, weight: 1.80m, 84kg Playing position: Midfield

Club history: 2006-07 New Zealand Knights; 2005-06 Newcastle Jets; 2004 Milton Keynes (England); 2004 Queens Park Rangers (England); 2003-04 Stoke City (England); 2003 Northampton (England); 1991-2003 Watford (England); 1989 Weston (New South Wales).

Hyundai A-League statistics: 2006-07 New Zealand Knights, 15 appearances; 2005-06 Newcastle Jets, 20 appearances (2 goals).

Representative honours: 1999-2000 Australia (3 matches).

Biography: Johnson moved to England from Australia aged 16, securing a traineeship at Watford. His 12 years at Watford included one season in the Premier League. Overall he made 242 appearances for the club and scored 20 goals, highlights including assisting Watford to promotion to the English Division One in 1998 and Premier League in 1999. Johnson brings considerable experience to Phoenix, appearing in 35 Hyundai A-League games in the past two seasons.


MICHAEL FERRANTE

Date of birth: 28/4/1981, Melbourne Height, weight: 1.72m, 73kg Playing position: Midfield

Club history: 2005-07 Melbourne Victory; 2002-04 Benevento (Italy); 1999-2002 West Ham United (England); 1997-98 Australian Institute of Sport.

Hyundai A-League statistics: 2006-07 Melbourne Victory, 5 appearances; 2005-06 Melbourne Victory, 21 appearances (1 goal).

Representative honours: Australia under-20, under-17.

Biography: Ferrante-s shift to Phoenix should ensure more A-League appearances after making just five for the title-winning Melbourne Victory last season, hindered by the signings of Fred and Grant Brebner. Ferrante made 21 appearances for Victory in 2005/06. A career highlight includes playing all 180 minutes of West Ham-s 1998/99 season home and away FA Youth Cup final win over Coventry City.