The top flight of football in New Zealand began in October and last weekend saw gameweek 5 take place. There has been a healthy number of Englishmen involved so far so let’s take a look at how they’re all getting on.
Unsurprisingly Auckland sit top of the table with five wins from five. They have finished top in each of the past five seasons prior to this one.
Here’s a run down of the Englishmen in each squad.
The leading club don’t strictly have any English players but have featured two men who would be have been eligible to represent the Three Lions.
Left back Alfie Rogers was born in Lancaster and has played in the Premiership since the 2014/15 season. Having started out with WaiBOP United (who folded in 2016) he joined Auckland in 2015 and has played three times so far this season.
The other is David Browne. The Papua New Guniea international is back in New Zealand after a three year spell in Holland where he made the bench in the Eredivisie on several occasions for PEC Zwolle and Gronigen. His dad is English, having moved to Papua New Guinea in the 1970s and Browne has scored once in two games so far.
The team who beat Auckland in the 2016 & 2017 grand finals, Team Wellington are set to compete in the showpiece tournament the FIFA Club World Cup later this year in the UAE. They’ve fielded two players who could be classed to some degree as English abroad so far this season.
Henry Cameron grew up in the Blackpool academy and made a total of 25 league appearances for them in two years with the first team between 2014 and 2016. He’s recently spent a season playing for League of Ireland Premier Division side Limerick making seven appearances for them before moving to the homeland of his mother to join Wellington. The midfielder is a New Zealand international despite being born in Lancashire. He’s featured in every game so far this season, scoring once and picking up two assists.
Ross Allen is another player with vast experience of English league football. The 31-year-old striker has made a big impact since arriving in Wellington last season. The Guernsey-born and raised forward scored seven times in the OFC Champions League last season to help Wellington win the tournament and subsequent passage to the Club World Cup. Back in league action this season, he’s scored once in four games.
The team’s goalkeeper Andrew Withers was born in Liverpool but has New Zealand listed as his nationality on multiple sources online. He’s recently returned to NZ after four years in New York studying at St. John’s University where he was number one choice goalkeeper for three years playing in NCAA Division I. This season for Eastern Suburbs, he’s played five games, keeping three clean sheets.
The team who came rock bottom last season have surprised everyone so far with their fast start and currently sit in 4th place with their three English players.
The first is Brad Whitworth. There does not appear to be much information about him online but he is a midfielder from Leeds and has played four times so far this season in what seems to be his first season in the Premiership.
James Hoyle in comparison, is a relative veteran of the Premiership. The 22-year-old midfielder has spent the previous two seasons playing for Hawke’s Bay United after a year with WaiBOP. He’s played five times so far this season.
The final English influence at Hamilton is Derek Tieku. The forward with Ghanaian roots has a very impressive youth pedigree, haveing spent time in both the Fulham and Crystal Palace academies growing up. This season is his third in New Zealand and last season he impressed playing for Eastern Suburbs where he scored seven league goals. He has one assist in five games so far this season.
Waitakere United are the only other team to finish top of the Premiership apart from Auckland since its formation in 2004. Their last success came in the 2012/13 season, however.
Goalkeeper Nick Draper has experience playing in the Conference for the likes of Lincoln City, Alfreton Town and Worcester City and has played three times so far this season for Waitakere, picking up one clean sheet.
Defender Ben Gordon has played five times so far but there is not much information about him other than that he played for New Zealand regional league side Glenfield Rovers last season.
Playing alongside Gordon is Bill Robertson who has been playing in New Zealand since 2007. The Manchester-born defender is now 34 and has over 120 New Zealand Premiership appearances to his name with five of those having coming so far this season as well as an assist.
Sam Burfoot once made the bench for New Zealand during a 1-0 friendly loss to South Korea in 2015 after impressing playing for Auckland City in the Club World Cup. The Bromley-born midfielder has won the Premiership three times previously and has played three times so far this season.
Another English-born player in the Waitakere team is Ollie Bassett. The former Northern Ireland youth international was born in Leicestershire and played twice for Yeovil Town in League Two three years ago. After a spell in non-league, he’s now in New Zealand and has scored once in five appearances so far.
Canterbury have no fewer than seven English-born players in their squad although a few could be counted as New Zealand nationals now.
Centre-back Tom Schwarz was born in Crewe but this season is his ninth in the Premiership with Canterbury, proving to be one of the most consistent performers in the league down the years. His appearance at the weekend was his 130th in the competition and he is still only 29, not bad seeing as the regular season sees teams play just 18 times each. He has one goal this season in five games, which took his career tally to 13 goals.
Luke Tongue played for A-League side Wellington Phoenix last year in their round of 32 match against Western Sydney Wanderers in the FFA Cup. He has since left the club to join Canterbury and the Stafford-born defender has made four appearances so far this season, having previously played in the Premiership for Wellington Phoenix Reserves.
Adam Thurston is a defender from Liverpool who made the move to New Zealand last year to join Hawke’s Bay United. Having played in the National League for Hyde United and FC United of Manchester, he’s since made the move to Canterbury and has scored once in five appearances so far this year.
Another English defender in the Canterbury squad is Dan Terris. The right back is one of the most experienced players in the Premiership and at the age of 37, he has been playing for Canterbury for over 10 years. He’s been limited to three substitute appearances so far this season.
Next up is George King who is in his second season with Canterbury. The 24-year-old midfielder played for Fleetwood Town and Manchester City growing up and has five appearances to his name so far this year.
Gary Ogilvie has scored once in five appearances so far and did not miss a single match for Canterbury last season. The 29-year-old was a regular for Canvey Island in the Conference South before moving to New Zealand in 2015 and has also spent time in the US and Canada.
Finally, Stephen Hoyle has had a great start to the season with three goals to his name so far. He has been playing in New Zealand on and off since 2012 and scored 10 in just 13 games back in the 2015/16 season for WaiBOP. The brother of James who plays for Hamilton Wanderers, he has also spent time in Canada.
Southern have an Irish manager and five Irish players in their squad but there is still room for three Englishmen, although they have made just a single appearance between them. Nick Treadwell, a 28-year-old midfielder who has played for the likes of Whitstable Town and Ramsgate back home, made his debut for the side at the weekend in a 1-1 draw with Waitakere United. Liam MacDevitt, has yet to make his senior debut but did appear in pre-season friendlies for the club and Cameron Gordon, a 22-year-old striker who had been studying at Loughborough, has also recently signed for the club.
Tasman have had a disappointing start to the season but showed signs of improvement at the weekend after they picked up their first win over Wellington Phoenix Reserves.
On the scoresheet that day was Kiernan Hughes-Mason. The 27-year-old played two league games for Millwall as a youngster before going on to become a consistent performer at Conference level. Having played in the regional leagues earlier this year, he joined Tasman and his goal at the weekend was his first of the season in his fifth appearance.
Also in the squad is Tom Hickey, a recent signing from Met Police FC. The 25-year-old is a tough tackling defensive midfielder and has played four times so far.
Ryan Worrall is also another recruit from the English non-league game. He arrived from Whitehawk, having previously spent five seasons with Eastbourne Borough in the National League South. He’s played in all five of Tasman’s games so far.
There’s also Jordan Yong who is in his second season at Tasman. The former Norwich City youth player has played in New Zealand in the past before returning home to play for King’s Lynn. An attacking full back, he has a Malaysian father and last year was linked to a move to Malaysian Premier League side Melaka United. He’s played four times so far this season.
Hawke’s Bay United
Hawke’s Bay have a history of signing English players and this year is no different. Earlier this year, they resigned Sam Mason-Smith who played for the club in the 2016/17 season when he scored 11 times. Last year he played for South African second-tier club Stellenbosch and has scored once in five games so far this season.
The club also have a very familiar face in their ranks. Millwall legend Paul Ifill joined the club earlier this year. The 39-year-old made over 250 appearances at the Den and has played in New Zealand since 2009, first in the A-League for Wellington Phoenix before moving to the Premiership. He’s showing no signs of slowing down this year with one goal in five games so far.
Their final Englishman is Liam Schofield. The defender is in his first season of Premiership action having previously played in the regional leagues for Napier City Rovers. He’s made three appearances this year having started his career at the Barnsley youth academy.
Wellington Phoenix Reserves
Five games and five losses for the reserve side of the A-League club Wellington Pheonix but they do have one English-born forward who has caught the eye. 18-year-old striker Calvin Harris has scored twice in five games so far in what is his first season in senior football. The youngster spent the first four years of his life in England before moving to Asia with his family and then on to New Zealand to join Wellington Phoenix and peruse his dream of being a footballer.