Western United are gearing up to play their final home game of the season against Central Coast Mariners at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium on Sunday – and it could be their last for some time.
Next season's plans for the A-League new-boys are in flux.
Other western suburbs venues closer to Melbourne – including the Whitten Oval and Melbourne Knights Stadium in Sunshine, perhaps even the Melbourne Showgrounds – are being floated as potential venues as the club seeks to strengthen its identity and attract supporters as it awaits construction of its planned stadium in Tarneit.
A-League action at GMHBA Stadium.Credit:Getty Images
Western's final two home games this season – against Western Sydney Wanderers at the end of March and Melbourne City over Easter – will be played at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.
Club officials are currently in talks with the Kardinia Park Trust over their deal, but it is thought unlikely to continue in its current form as several matches in the men's T20 Cricket World Cup are due to be played there at the start of the next A-League season.
Fans, media and almost everyone in the game regard this debut season in Geelong as a massive disappointment, with poor crowds and a lack of visibility for a club which was expected to generate interest and excitement in a struggling A-League.
Western did create more atmosphere and a higher profile when it played one game – a seven goal thriller against Adelaide – at Whitten Oval.
Chris Pehlevanis, the club's CEO, says a number of ideas are being considered.
''We are working through things (at GMHBA) and we will see how that can shake out. We are also looking at other venues in the west. The Cricket World Cup will make it difficult in Geelong early next season. The Whitten Oval worked well when we played Adelaide there.''
Pehlevanis would not be drawn on the likelihood of using the Knights ground, but many fans in the west regard that as the ideal scenario.
Talks had taken place between the two clubs before this campaign began but foundered amidst disagreement over costing and the amount of work needed to be done. But given the experience of the last 12 months it would not be surprising if discussions were begun again to consider the NPL side's Sunshine venue.
Pehlevanis also urged clubs and the sport's governing body to work together to breathe new life into the A-League, which has been struggling to maintain its profile in the past few seasons.
"Lets get the game to be sustainable. We have to find a financial model for clubs that is sustainable for the whole game. We need to walk before we can run.''
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