New Auckland A-League team owner Bill Foley says his club will hit the ground running with key announcements to begin as soon as this weekend.

A football director will be first, a coach will follow next month, and players will sign from January, the American billionaire has told AAP.

“We will be successful. We’re not in this to finish bottom,” he said.

“We’ve already agreed to a transaction with a director of football operations, a very experienced guy who’s going to be great for our team … within a few days we’ll be prepared to announce him.

“He’s lining up coaches for interviews and we think within two weeks we’ll have a coach in place.

Bill Foley. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

“We’re already thinking about players and we were getting a lot of good input from a lot of different people.”

Foley, an insurance and financial services tycoon who has began to invest in sports in the last decade, said “this is not going to be a team that’s going to scrimp on spending money”.

“We’ll take advantage of all of our visa exemption opportunities for players. We’ll have our two marquee players,” he said.

“We’re going to spend the money to get the right players in place.”

The big-spending, big-splash vision will be music to the ears to both local fans and the A-Leagues, which has returned a club to Auckland 17 years after the disastrous New Zealand Knights.

The Knights won the wooden spoon in the first two A-League seasons before folding, replaced by the Wellington Phoenix.

When the as-yet-unnamed Auckland side kick off in the 2024/25 competition, Foley says he wants to be friendly rivals with the Nix, rather than sworn enemies.

“We’ll be collegial,” he said.

“We want to make sure they’re successful as well. It’s important for New Zealand to have two successful teams, not just one.”

Their first football signing may be a raid on the Phoenix, with long-time coach Chris Greenacre linked.

Wellington have responded to Auckland’s entry by signing up key Kiwi talents: the latest being Auckland-raised Ben Old, who on Wednesday inked a deal through to 2027.

Foley confirmed his club will play out of south Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, making them co-tenants with the Warriors NRL side and the Moana Pasifika Super Rugby Pacific team.

There are also long-term hopes of finding a home closer to the CBD.

“Maybe at some point we’ll be able to develop a stadium on the waterfront, but you know that’s a ways off. It’s gonna take us some time,” he said.

Foley’s approach is clearly to spend what you need to to be successful – but he says he’s not in the caper to throw money down the drain.

“We will be profitable,” he said.

“We anticipate the first year we’ll probably lose $5 million and the second year we’ll probably lose around $3 million and then by the third year we should be break-even or modestly profitable.

“We’re prepared for that kind of investment and it really doesn’t bother us.

“The most important thing is to put a winner on the pitch.”

Neither Foley or the A-Leagues have disclosed how much the insurance and financial services tycoon has paid for the license.


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