Warren Spink says Team 11’s A-League and W-League bid couldn’t be any more representative of his home if it tried.
The 38-time Socceroo grew up in the Casey suburb of Hallam – in the same street as Team 11 ambassador Paul Wade – and cut his teeth at the Doveton Soccer Club.
He also lived in Narre Warren for 15 years before moving to Newcastle, and still has family there, as well as in Berwick and Officer.
The English-born striker, who also played for the Morwell Falcons during his National Soccer League career, scored nine goals for his adopted country in an international career that stretched from 1988-97.
Spink said he is hugely excited by the Team 11 bid, which is aiming to represent 1.7 million people in the south-east of Victoria in an expanded A-League competition.
“It’s just a logical choice, it’s almost a no brainer from where I sit,” Spink said.
“The growth rate in this corridor in the last 15-20 years has just been enormous. Then throw in that mix of cultures, almost everyone is a football fan. It’s a big football area.
“I’m quite confident we’ll sell out the ground almost every game, no matter what the capacity – be it at Casey Fields or when we move into the stadium in Dandenong.
“We’re far enough away that we’re not competing with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City for that market share, we’re bringing the professional game to a new region. It’s exciting.”
Spink said many of his old mates are still involved at Doveton and he still goes back there regularly.
“Ernie Merrick gave me my senior debut at Doveton when I was 15, back in 1982,” Spink said.
“That was back when the Doves were flying high in the top league in Victoria, we had a great team back then. It’s a fantastic club.”
Despite now living north of the border, Spink often returns to Melbourne for work.
“And when I do come home I stay with my mum or my sister, who are out in the south-east anyway,” he said.
“All of my mates are out that way, so I will absolutely be front and centre at games every year, don’t you worry about that. I can’t wait.”