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  • Dan Moskovitz

Auckland Football Club Name Dropped: Auckland Football Club


Last Saturday the Wellington Phoenix men downed Sydney FC 2-1 at Eden Park, in one of the ‘home’ games the Nix bring to Auckland each year. That win was the last time Auckland will be ‘home’ for Wellington: a couple of days earlier saw the unveiling of Auckland FC, the latest addition to the A-League, and a rival to the table-topping Phoenix. 

Auckland FC’s announcement cleared up one of the biggest pieces of speculation surrounding the club: the name. When the bid was announced, Billionaire owner Bill Foley’s clear preference was for ‘Auckland Black Knights’; Foley’s sporting empire is named Black Knight Entertainment, and he’d previously named his hockey team the ‘Las Vegas Black Knights’. 

Yet ironically, the name Knights is the singular name an Auckland-based football side cannot have. Between 2005 and 2007 the New Zealand Knights were Auckland’s A-League team. They won six out of their 47 matches and finished last both seasons before disbanding, sparking the rise of the Wellington Phoenix from their ashes. 

Consequently, Foley’s preferred name was the only name which wouldn’t work in the specific sporting code in the specific city he chose to invest in. Instead, Auckland’s nickname will be the Black Knights, while playing under the official banner of Auckland FC. 

Auckland FC’s name announcement comes after Foley signed Sydney FC’s former manager Steve Corica, and former Sydney FC player Terry McFlynn as Director of Football. Imitation is clearly the sincerest form of flattery.

The team will play in a blue and black pinstripe kit, which has generally been positively received. The badge however has received more mixed reviews, appearing overly crowded to some. We’ll present them here without comment.

With Auckland  FC’s inception, the Wellington Phoenix are Aoteroa’s sole A-League-rep no more. What’s more, the Nix finally have a bona fide rival. Auckland won’t even join the League until next season, yet already competition heats up: Wellington’s win over Sydney was interrupted by a pitch invader wearing the Auckland kit. How he got the kit remains a mystery, given Auckland’s attire has not been commercially released. 

Newshub reported “a source” claiming the stunt was planned by Auckland FC, with Eden Park’s consent—only for said source to retract their story five minutes later.

On Wellington’s side, the Phoenix (before the pitch invasion) launched a petition to include Tāmaki Makarau in Greater Wellington’s borders, allowing Auckland-based Phoenix fans to continue to cheer on their ‘local’ team.


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