Soccer: Phoenix confirm EPL fixtures

Winston Reid's West Ham, along with Newcastle, will be travelling to New Zealand to face the Phoenix in July. Photo / Getty
Winston Reid's West Ham, along with Newcastle, will be travelling to New Zealand to face the Phoenix in July. Photo / Getty

New Zealand will soon play host to a pair of English Premier League sides after the Phoenix today confirmed fixtures against Newcastle and West Ham.

The two top flight clubs will participate in a tournament involving the Phoenix and fellow A-League side Sydney FC, with matches set for Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Westpac Stadium will host both Premier League clubs in a double header on July 26, while Eden Park and Forsyth Barr Stadium will also enjoy the chance to welcome sides from the most popular league in the world.

The double-header will be the first time in the Southern Hemisphere that two English Premier League clubs have played on the same ground on the same day.

Announcing the games after months of speculation, Wellington Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison said he was delighted the club was hosting two such high profile teams.

"All of New Zealand will be able to be part of this unique sporting event, with Newcastle United journeying to Dunedin and West Ham United to Auckland, with both sides finishing their tour with the double-header in Wellington."

The tour will also provide an opportunity for Kiwi fans to see All Whites captain Winston Reid in his club colours, a prospect he was eagerly awaiting.

"I'm really excited to be bringing West Ham to New Zealand in July to play a bit of footy and show them how we do things in New Zealand," Reid said.

"New Zealand is a beautiful country full of great people and I'm sure all the West Ham players, staff and supporters who make the trip will have a fantastic time.

"Football is really on the up in both New Zealand and Australia and we are all looking forward to meeting all the fans and playing exciting matches against two leading A-League clubs."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was also looking forward to bringing a team to New Zealand for the first time in his managerial career.

"We've been busy putting together the best pre-season preparation that I've had, and it's great that we're able to go to New Zealand as a key part of that," Allardyce said. "The tournament in New Zealand is particularly interesting, as it allows us to promote West Ham United and the Premier League over there.

"It'll be great for our fans in the region to see us play."

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said: "Football has grown impressively in both New Zealand and Australia in recent years, with some excellent players and teams coming to the fore, so the Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC fixtures will provide a good test for our players as we prepare them for next season."

Schedule:

22 July: Sydney FC vs Newcastle United - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

23 July: Wellington Phoenix vs West Ham - Eden Park, Auckland.

26 July: Sydney FC vs West Ham, Wellington Phoenix vs Newcastle - Westpac Stadium, Wellington.

- APNZ

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