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Waiheke: A small club with a big dream

Waiheke United’s title hopes are out of their hands but chairman David Arnold’s dreams remain big for the Lotto NRFL Newcomers.

It’s a two horse race for the Division Two title between the Island Dwellers and Fencibles United and Waiheke are well aware it could be sealed this weekend.

“It’s out of our hands now,” Arnold said.

“It has always been our ambition to win the league but it’s now up to Fencibles.”

Waiheke United won promotion to the Lotto NRFL last season in fairy-tale fashion, and the dream run has continued with promotion to Division One already secured.

The talented side has a vast range of nationalities with Arnold citing French, Japanese, Mexican, Uruguayan and Argentinians amongst their squad, as well as Kiwi’s.

“It’s largely through Social Media, word of mouth and friends of friends,” Arnold said on the conveyor belt of overseas talent coming through.

“We believe we have the third largest Facebook following in New Zealand Football.”

Even with the political ramifications of the potential change in visa system, Arnold has no qualms that it will influence the success of the club.

“We are developing home grown talent on the island.

“We had our first 17th Metro side this year and one of those lads has already transitioned into the senior squad.

“We’re mindful of all things, that unlike many other clubs that can keep their playing squad from one year to the next, we keep a core of players but then get a renewal, we get players leaving but then we get players coming in.”

What doesn’t change for the club is their supporters who attract much attention with flares, red flags, drums and non-stop chanting which creates a unique atmosphere rarely seen in New Zealand Football.

With that support, and big plans, such as hosting Auckland City and Eastern Suburbs in the Fullers Festival in September,  Arnold believes the club could become a ISPS Handa Premiership side.

“We see the club competing in the National League in the future.

“We understand that in a couple of years time the National League will open to a promotion relegation system.

“We have an objective which much of New Zealand Football will probably raise their eye brows at and say ‘well how is that going to happen?’

“We have an objective to represent New Zealand at the FIFA Club World Cup; That will raise a few eyebrows I know in the football community but every journey begins with the first step.”

Title winning scenarios…

If Fencibles United win the match they win the Lotto NRFL Second Division.

If Fencibles United draw with Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United draw with Papatoetoe AFC, Fencibles United win the Lotto NRFL Second Division.

If Fencibles United draw with Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United lose to Papatoetoe AFC, then Fencibles United win the Lotto NRFL Second Division.

If Fencibles United lose to Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United lose to Papatoetoe AFC, then Fencibles United win the Lotto NRFL Second Division.

Title race continues to final day of season…

If Fencibles United draw with Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United win over Papatoetoe AFC, then title race goes to the final game of the season.

If Fencibles United lose to Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United win over Papatoetoe AFC, then title race goes to the final game of the season.

If Fencibles United lose to Takapuna AFC and Waiheke United draw with Papatoetoe AFC and the title race goes to the final game of the season.

If Waiheke United win their match with Papatoetoe AFC and Fencibles United draw with or lose to Takapuna AFC, the title race goes to the final game of the season.