An update from the Chair

Hi Reds fans,

It’s been a hectic start to the 2023/24 season but I thought this would be an opportune moment to take a breath and touch base on some of the exciting work being done behind the scenes at the club.

Of course much of the focus across the front end of the season has been on the departure of Craig Goodwin to Saudi Arabia and the finalisation of the transfer of Nestory Irankunda to FC Bayern München in Germany.

I’m sure you would have seen a lot of the excitement around Nestory’s landmark deal in the Australian media, but it was incredible to also be shown articles in the German media hailing Adelaide United’s youth development signing as a brilliant result for one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Nestory’s development is a testament to his own hard work but also to the support and opportunities he has received from Carl Veart, Airton Andrioli and their respective coaching personnel.

Many were questioning where the goals would come from without Craig and while he is a unique world-class talent, football is a global game and the large majority of clubs around the world see players come and go. Like Nestory, we need to enjoy them while they are with us and support them when opportunities arise overseas. Adelaide United will never stand in the way of one of its players personal or financial international development.

It has been great to see how well some of our younger players have been developing across the first few rounds of the 2023-24 season, led so well by Carl and his coaching staff Mark Milligan, Eugene Galekovic and Damian Mori. That Round 2 clash against Melbourne City was a brilliant showcase of what our side is capable of, and it was great to see Coopers Stadium absolutely rocking!

Our women’s side started the season well, despite being unable to find a winner in a four-all draw against Canberra United. Adrian Stenta was pulling his hair out last season with the side struggling to score but already this season we have seen the women finding the back of the net more frequently and taking it up to the best sides at various times. That they have not had a win so far does not tell the true tale of how close they are and the positive development in this squad. The Liberty A-League is a tough and close competition this year and any lapses will be punished. It was great to welcome back Chelsie Dawber last week after a spell away in the US and in Sweden. She will no doubt add to the firepower Stents has at his disposal.

20th Anniversary celebrations

It is a special time to be involved at Adelaide United. To celebrate our club’s 20th anniversary, we released a documentary produced by filmmaker Ben Coonan that tells the tale of our club’s incredible journey over the first 20 years. As someone who is relatively new to this club, it filled me with pride to see how far we’ve come, how much we have achieved, and just how much our club means to so many people in the community. If you haven’t seen it yet I would encourage you to do so HERE.

On top of the documentary, we will celebrate our anniversary with a special dinner at Adelaide Oval on January 23, 2024. It will be a perfect opportunity to relive past glories and pay tribute to all of those who have laid the foundations for our club’s next 20 years and beyond.

Tickets are selling well, and I would encourage you all to show your support and try get there if you can. We want as many of our people to be present for this special occasion. The best thing is that proceeds from the night go towards the Adelaide United Foundation to support our focus on youth development, education and community initiatives.  

Investment in the club

While we are on the topic of looking back, since my arrival at the club nearly eight months ago, we have a lot to be proud of as we look to lay the foundations for sustained success. Our owners have invested heavily into the club, both on and off the field. Some of the things we’re most proud of include:

  • The club being debt free and in its strongest financial position ever;
  • A new five-year lease agreement with Adelaide Venue Management for the use of our spiritual home – Coopers Stadium;
  • An increase in administration and football staff including in Football, Data and Insights, Marketing and Merchandise, Communications, Membership and Ticketing, Nutrition, and Video Analysis
  • A 50{9316bdc8926ea12fd3218e9df0be06a03991e545af91e98c723bc822f5d4d102} increase year-on-year in our A-League Women’s program including coach Adrian Stenta becoming the club’s first full-time women’s coach;
  • Focussed investment into the development of young players including new long-term contracts to Jonny Yull, Panashe Madanha, Luka Jovanović, Ethan Alagich, Luke Duzel and Ethan Cox;
  • A new Community strategy which includes incorporating the Carrusca Academy to enhance our focus on youth development and launching our United in Schools program;
  • Launching our new Diploma in Sport Business in partnership with Flinders University;
  • Working with Kinlab to craft a fan-centred brand strategy which we are starting to see the fruits of.
  • Engaging a new production company Max Events to increase the fans experience on game day with new lighting, audio and our youth flag bearers on pitch for every home game.

Off the back of the groundswell in support for women’s sport following the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we were proud to partner with the South Australian Government and the other leading women’s sporting sides in this state to help promote each other through the Power of Her initiative, and we became the first club to take part in the RAIISE respectful sporting club environments program, which is another legacy of the World Cup.

Launching the Adelaide United Foundation

While I could highlight so much more, I do want to tell you more about the Adelaide United Foundation, which we are going to launch shortly to focus on three key pillars – youth development, community and education. Adelaide United has always been a community club, the People’s Club, and this foundation will allow us to continue supporting our community.

We have some big games coming up, and after a couple of away games in a row for our men’s outfit, we will be back home at Coopers to welcome Ross Aloisi and his Brisbane Roar side on Sunday 10 December. Our women’s side will play a day earlier at Marden Sports Complex against Western United.

I hope to see you at the football.

Go Reds!

Ned Morris
Adelaide United Chair