Loading...

From the CEO: Welcome to season 2021/22

Nathan Kosmina

Dear Adelaide United family,

It was great to finally see our men’s team kick-off its Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 season against Perth Glory last weekend, with our women’s side commencing its campaign next weekend.

While it was frustrating not to come away with the win, we were encouraged by the performance, and saw the energetic style of football Carl and his staff are trying to implement.

We expect to build on that display against Melbourne City this Saturday night at home in what will be a tougher test against the reimaging Champions and one of our fiercest rivals.

We say this every year but it was once again a very long pre-season and a lot has happened away from the pitch since our last men’s match at Coopers Stadium on 3 June.

It is an extremely exciting time to be involved in our game, something that has not been said for many years. The optimism and excitement surrounding the start of this season is for good reason with the rebirth of football under APL and the A-Leagues brand having revitalised the professional game in Australia.

The broadcast partnership with 10 ViacomCBS, which sees Network 10 and Paramount+ become the new home of football in this country, has provided us with longer term stability and a partner with a vested interest in the growth of the game. We will see the fruits of this partnership continue to grow with greater promotion of the A-Leagues and much improved broadcast coverage of both our men’s and women’s competitions. We hope our Members will have already seen a change in this regard with the amount of news content and promotion across Network 10 over the past few weeks. If not already, we encourage all of our Members to sign up to Paramount+ for as little as $75 for 12-months as a membership add on.

Transitioning those that play the game into active followers of the A-Leagues is the perennial challenge for our sport. The recent launch of KEEPUP as the digital home of Football in Australia will assist in fostering engagement with the wider football community, outside of our traditional fan base. A connected, state of the art digital platform provides a clearer pathway to transition participants to fans and as the KEEPUP product evolves. We hope those that currently support the Reds only from a distance or were supporters in the past, jump back on board.

As we return to Coopers Stadium for the first time in nearly six months, we do so with Stage 1 of the redevelopment complete including four new change rooms, a rebuild of food and beverage outlets, plus upgrades to the VALO Chairman’s Club. Stage 2 and 3 of works will see the most significant upgrades including a corporate space and roof on the Eastern Stand along with new lights, a new audio system, LED signage, a pitch redevelopment and a number of access improvements including new entry gates and disability access. In the short term, Stage 1 provides for double headers to return to Coopers Stadium for the first time since 2017 when our men and women play Perth Glory on Thursday, 23 December.

At our recent Members’ Forum, I mentioned how impressed I was with the scheduling of our fixtures this season. Our men’s team have three Friday night matches and eight Saturday night matches all at 7:15pm with no afternoon kick offs, avoiding the heat issues that have plagued our schedule the past few seasons. For the women, the number of home matches increases from six to seven with three double headers at Coopers Stadium and remaining matches to be played at Marden Sports Complex.

Our women’s season commences on Sunday, 5 December against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. Adrian Stenta, together with our football department, have constructed a well-balanced squad with the core of last year’s team maintained coupled with a number of new local and interstate recruits. The aim for the team this season is simple, consolidate on last year’s historic season and qualify for Finals. As the program has grown in stature of the past few years and our younger South Australian players have matured into senior players, we now expect to make Finals as a non-negotiable ambition every season.

This week we were proud to announce a new three-year, state-first partnership with the Marshall Liberal Government tackling sports gambling ahead of our first home game. The ‘Here for the Game’campaign reinforces the positive aspects of sport outside of gambling and aims to highlight the negative impacts that can arise from sports betting. South Australian’s Stefan Mauk, Mohamed Toure and Chelsie Dawber will be our ambassadors and will help in promoting the key campaign across TV, radio, online and of course, at Coopers Stadium.

Finally, I want to remind all fans about the COVID-19 measures to enter the venue this weekend.

Last week we endorsed Adelaide Venue Management’s (AVM) decision to declare Coopers Stadium will become a fully vaccinated venue for persons aged 16 and over from Tuesday, 23 November.

I acknowledge this has and will cause challenges for some fans, who may have only received one dose and will be forced to miss games.

However, we supported this mandate introduced by AVM, because our primary focus has been the health and safety of our Members, supporters, players, staff as well as the broader football community.

Additional information regarding these protocols have been communicated through our social media and digital channels during the week, and there will be processes in place on match day to ensure patrons can move into the venue as swiftly as possible.

I would encourage fans to get to the ground early to avoid queues as fans will need to provide proof of vaccination upon checking into the stadium.

The good news on the stadium front is that unlike last year there is no ticket redemption or allocated seating for General Admission, Active Support Members, and ticket holders which will improve the match day experience for those in the Northern and Southern stands. Standing on the terrace also returns which will bring back some of the atmosphere that was lost last season.

All in all, it is a great time to be an Adelaide United supporter and I encourage everyone to get behind our teams this year. 

Thank you once again for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at our first men’s home game against Melbourne City this Saturday night.

Regards,

Nathan Kosmina