Auckland FC opts for Inter Milan-style kits for debut season

Head coach Steve Corica shows off Auckland FC's Inter Milan-style A-League Men home shirt.

Head coach Steve Corica shows off Auckland FC's Inter Milan-style A-League Men home shirt. Photo: AAP

Auckland’s new A-League entry will be known simply as Auckland FC, donning an “electric blue” and black kit and with the nickname of the Black Knights.

When the club joins in the 2024-25 season, it will do so with a kit resembling that of Italian giants Inter Milan: Black and blue vertical stripes.

Auckland FC was chosen from a shortlist including the Auckland Volcanoes and Black Knights FC.

The club was granted entry into the league in November, when American billionaire businessman Bill Foley was announced as owner.

Foley owns clubs across a number of sports, including soccer, several of which are branded as ‘Knights’ – a reference to the nickname of US military academy West Point.

The club said a “wide-ranging consultation” process landed on Auckland FC as the name, with the Black Knights to be the club’s nickname as was Foley’s preference.

The name also recalls the ill-fated New Zealand Knights, wooden-spooners in the first two seasons of the A-League before folding in 2007.

The announcements show a side gradually coming together in New Zealand’s biggest city, but also point to the slow progress setting up a men’s club in Australia’s capital.

Last year, Australian Premier Leagues (APL) chiefs announced Auckland and Canberra as their preferred expansion locations for 2024-25.

In January, APL boss Nick Garcia said he was “very positive” about “advanced discussions” with a Canberra men’s side to join the league.

No further announcements have been forthcoming, leading to doubts as to whether it will be ready to kick off in October.

The uncertainty is affecting the Canberra United women’s side, which has star players threatening to walk away should their future not be made clear.

Although the Auckland side is ticking off milestones ahead of round one, it is also showing that founding a professional men’s side is not simple.

In November, Foley said the club would announce a football director within days, a coach within a fortnight and players from January.

The football director, Terry McFlynn, took a fortnight; the coach, Steve Corica, took six weeks, and players are yet to be announced.

On Thursday, Corica pushed out the time frame for player announcements even further, saying it will happen “from June”.

“I’m looking forward to helping build the club from the ground up, fostering a strong attacking team known for their entertaining style of football, and attracting some of the best talent to grow with the club,” he said.

The club will play home games at Mt Smart Stadium, which the Warriors NRL side also call home.

Issues remain over a training base, according to the NZ Herald, with suggestions it would prove challenging to secure training time at Mt Smart.

But Foley has made clear his high level of ambition for the team.

“We will be successful. We’re not in this to finish bottom,” he told AAP in November.

The name of Auckland FC runs the risk of creating confusion with perennial domestic champions Auckland City FC, who play in navy blue.

Auckland City FC won 10 successive titles before last year – when it finished second to Wellington Olympic – representing Oceania at several FIFA World Club Cups.


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