Melbourne’s south-east will be home to one of Australia’s most accessible sport and entertainment venues if its bid for A-League and W-League admission is successful.
The prime location of Cheltenham Road, next to Dandenong Train Station, has been confirmed as the site of Team 11’s proposed stadium build.
Concepts designed by Cox Architecture – designers of Melbourne’s AAMI Park – has Dandenong Stadium capacity initially slated in the range of 12,000-15,000, with the ability to expand to 20,000 in the future.
The site, less than 100m walk from one of Victoria’s busiest train and bus stations and within five kilometres of the Monash Freeway and EastLink, will provide for easy access from all corners of Victoria’s south-east.
Australian business icon and Dandenong local Gerry Ryan, the founder and owner of Jayco Caravans, said, given the proposed location, the stadium would revitalise Dandenong and revolutionise the wider south-east Melbourne region through the creation of jobs and injection of commercial investment.
Ryan also said there would be profound social impacts on the community.
“This is a game-changer for the city of Dandenong and for the south-east of Victoria,” Ryan said.
“We want to provide our children – and all members of our culturally diverse community – a cause they can unite behind, be inspired by and feel connected to. A football team playing out of a venue such as this would do just that.
“To also have community and education programs running from the stadium in partnership with local tertiary, training and not-for-profit organisations would ensure our residents benefit significantly from this development.”
Dandenong-born Simon McKeon, chair of the South East Melbourne group of councils, said south-east Melbourne is crying out for a professional sporting club to train and play here.
“There are more than 1.2 million people living in south-east Melbourne and families would love the opportunity to come together with the wider community to support a team they can identify strongly with and watch play at a purpose-built stadium,” McKeon said.
McKeon said the region provides a large, ready-made army of diverse, enthusiastic supporters who already love the world game.
“It’s a no-brainer,” McKeon said. “The beautiful game would find a perfect home among a massive group of professional supporters at an easily accessible location next to Dandenong Train Station.”
Various funding options for the stadium build are being explored, with Development Victoria, Ernst and Young, Cox Architecture and Greater Dandenong Council working together on development plans for the site.
The stadium build is predicated on Team 11 being admitted into the A-League.
Socceroos legend and Team 11 ambassador Vince Grella said the new club would be playing at a football-specific venue with an intimacy that would rival all others in the country. There are also safe standing provisions for active home fans.
“Football fans in Australia have been crying out for boutique venues in which to house our clubs. Dandenong Stadium is perfect,” Grella said.
“There are more people playing football than any other sport in this country. The game deserves venues such as this.
“Not only will Team 11 be able to enjoy this facility, but the potential for Socceroos, Matildas and youth internationals to be played here is very real, as well as local club games and regional gala events and tournaments.”
The land proposed for the stadium is owned by the City of Greater Dandenong.
Greater Dandenong Councillor and Team 11 steering committee member Jim Memeti said the unveiling of stadium plans demonstrates the seriousness of the region’s bid, spearheaded by the Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Cardinia Shire councils.
“With Greater Dandenong being the most multicultural municipality in Australia, football is the No.1 sport of choice for our residents and so it is fitting that a rectangular venue would sit pride of place in the heart of our Central Business District,” Cr Memeti said.
“But this stadium is not just about the creation of what can be an enormous football club, this will be a prized asset for our region, catering for a wide range of sporting events, multicultural festivals, concerts and functions.”