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Football Kingz/New Zealand Knights

New Zealand Knights F.C.

Full name New Zealand Knights
Football Club Ltd
Nickname(s) The Knights
Founded 1999 (as Football Kingz)
Ground North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
Capacity 25,000
Chairman New Zealand Soccer
Manager Ricki Herbert
League A-League (until 2005-06)
A-League 2005-06 8th

The New Zealand Knights F.C., from Auckland, New Zealand, (known as Football Kingz Football Club until 2004), are the only professional football (soccer) team in New Zealand. They play in the recently-formed Hyundai A-League, which is Australia's premier football competition.

The Football Kingz joined the Australian National Soccer League in 1999 and were ranked 8th of 16 in 1999/2000 season, 8th of 14 in 2000/01, and 13th of 13 in 2001/02.

In 2005, New Zealand was awarded one of the eight teams in Australia's brand new football competition, the Hyundai A-League. John Adshead, who took the New Zealand national side, the All Whites to their only ever World Cup finals appearance in 1982 was named their inaugural manager/coach. Current New Zealand international defender Danny Hay, who previously played in the English Premiership with Leeds United A.F.C was named captain of the team.

The club underwent a name change before the 2005 season and became known as New Zealand Knights in preparation for the A-League. This was the end result of market research to determine the viability of a new identity for the team; reportedly 76% of people polled were in favour of the name change.

Despite having a squad boasting several players with extensive experience in English football, many pundits did not rate the Knights as serious contenders for the A-League title, and they were considered favourites for the wooden spoon. These predictions turned out to be true, with the New Zealand Knights proving to be terribly out of their depth in their debut A-League season.
In April 2006, after the poor season, manager John Adshead resigned from the club. Paul Nevin was confirmed as manager a month later, having worked as caretaker manager since the position was vacated by Adshead.

In late October 2006, as a result of low crowd attendance at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland and continual poor on-field performances, rumours began to circulate that the Football Federation Australia was considering the possibility of revoking the Knights' A-League licence and granting it to a new team that would be set to enter the competition in the 2007-08 season. Possible replacements for the Knights were said to be a Wollongong-based team (most likely the Wollongong Wolves), a team representing the Australian capital Canberra or a second Queensland team based in the city of Townsville in Northern Queensland. Provincial Victorian city Geelong has also been sounded out by the FFA. The Football Federation Australia had originally intended to introduce two new teams into the A-League in the 2008-09 season, but if the Knights' are to be removed from the league then this would pave way for a replacement team as soon as the 2007-08 season.

On 15th of November and nearing the end of the November transfer window New Zealand Knights board and management decided to relieve Paul Nevin of his coaching duties due to a string of poor performances.

On 13 December 2006, strong rumours resurfaced that the FFA was considering the revocation of the Knights' licence to compete in the A-League. It quickly became clear that, with five weeks remaining in the current season, the FFA fully intended to reclaim the licence from the Knights. The FFA had continued to express angst at low attendance numbers, poor on-field performance and the lack of domestically developed players (ibid).

Late on 14 December, the FFA announced that it had revoked the competition licence held by the Knights' owners. An arrangement with NZ Soccer will see the national body step in to manage the club for the remaning five weeks of the regular season, with former All White's player Ricki Herbert to fill the role of Head Coach. It is unclear at present whether NZS will seek to bid for the licence which now becomes available for the 2007/08 season (ibid).Colours and badge.

The Knights play in all-black strips, with a silver left sleeve. The change strip is white, with black shorts and white socks.
The badge was designed for the inaugural 2005-06 season and launched at the January 2005 press conference which highlighted the club name change.

The Knights play all their home fixtures at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland
The New Zealand Knights supporter base is known as Bloc 5. Whilst they may only have a small band of hardcore fans, these fans are some of the most passionate in the league. They have been attending Kingz/Knights matches since the opening season of 1999. Numbers used to be in the region of 300 but have since dropped to around 30.

Average attendances at Kingz/Knights matches have matched their plummeting form, with 2005-06 average attendances of just 3,000.

Season League Average High
2006/2007 A-League 3,009 7,304 - R1 - Newcastle Jets
2005/2006 A-League 3,989 9,827 - R2 v Sydney FC
2003/2004 NSL 1,273 2,304 - R1 v Newcastle United
2002/2003 NSL 2,613 3,682 - R7 v Melbourne Knights
2001/2002 NSL 3,874 8,121 - R2 v South Melbourne
2000/2001 NSL 6,620 13,111 - R23 v Marconi</p> John Adshead (2005-06)
Paul Nevin (2006-November 2006)
Barry Simmonds (Caretaker Manager November 2006
Ricki Herbert (Caretaker Manager December 2006

• Record Victory: 3-1 vs Queensland Roar (H), December 29, 2006
• Record Defeat: 0-5 vs Queensland Roar (A), September 15, 2006
• Record A-League Crowd: 9,827 vs Sydney FC, September 2, 2005
• Smallest Crowd: 1,632 vs Central Coast Mariners, September 28, 2006
• Winning Streak: 1 game (September 10, 2005 - September 18, 2005), (September 2, 2006)
• Undefeated Streak: 2 games (December 1, 2005 - January 8, 2006)
• Losing Streak: 11 games (September 18, 2005 - December 1, 2005)
• Winless Streak: 18 games (September 18, 2005 - September 2, 2006)
• Goals in a game: 2 - Jeremy Brockie vs Newcastle Jets (H), November 4, 2005
• Goals in a season: 4 - Jeremy Brockie, Simon Yeo, 2005/06
• Assists in a season: 3 - Sean Devine, 2005/06

For information on match day hospitality contact the NZ Knights office:
PO Box 301 043
Auckland 1330
t: (+64) 9 414 3671
f: (+64) 9 414 3680
Official New Zealand Knights website

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