Auckland A-Leagues franchise team name set to be announced

Bill Foley, owner of Auckland’s new A-League franchise. Photo / Photosport

The name of Auckland’s new A-League franchise will be announced next Thursday.

The Herald understands The Black Knights is the front-runner for the name of the club, who are joining the A-League Men competition from next season.

On Thursday March 14, they’ll also reveal their club colours and branding.

The announcement comes as the Herald understands the club are facing challenges finding a training base in Auckland due to scheduling conflicts with the New Zealand Warriors at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart , meaning owner Bill Foley’s team are exploring alternative stadium options.

When the side launched in November, the plan was for the team to spend their first seasons at Mt Smart before moving to a new 20,000-seat stadium – with financial assistance from American Billionaire Foley – on Auckland’s waterfront. In the interim, they have had to settle on training at North Harbour Stadium in Albany due to the unavailability of training pitches at Mt Smart, currently occupied by the Warriors.

Mt Smart Stadium has been the Warriors’ home ground since their inception, known as Ericsson Stadium from 1995-2006. The side’s only long-term absence from Penrose came during Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, when they played in Australia.

While the Warriors have welcomed the new A-League team, the Herald understands it’s been challenging to reach an outcome that accommodates both professional clubs, with most of the facilities already booked by the Warriors for the year.

Following next week’s announcement, the Herald understands Kiwi footballers Cameron Howieson (Auckland City FC) Francis De Vries (Eastern Suburbs AFC), Luis Toomey (Eastern Suburbs AFC), Michael Woud (Ventforet Kofu FC), Jesse Randell (Charleston Battery) and Callan Elliott (Motherwell FC) are set to sign with the Auckland side.

A high-profile Australian signing is also expected, with the frontrunners being Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City), Jake Brimmer (Melbourne Victory), Luke Brattan (Sydney FC) and Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne Victory).