Southern United FC
|Full name||Southern United Football Club|
|Ground||Sunnyvale Park, Dunedin, New Zealand|
|League||ISPS Handa Premiership|
Southern United was formed in 2004 as Otago United, to compete in the New Zealand Football Championship (NZFC). Based in Dunedin, Southern United, the sole representative from Federation 7, is one of eight teams competing in the NZFC. The club was formed by 21 clubs and 4 associations from within the geographic area from Timaru south to Invercargill.
Lutz Pfannenstiel, the only player to play professionally on every FIFA continent once called Otago United home.
In the inaugural season (2004–05), Otago United finished second from bottom but they improved to finish 5th out of 8 in the next season. However Otago United went from bad to worse in 2006–07 finishing in dead last and ending the season being humiliated 8–0 by league winners Waitakere United. The following season was slightly better finishing in seventh, ahead of Canterbury United, despite achieving the record for the least goals scored in around robin season.
The shortened 2008–09 season saw the team secure 2 wins (both 2–1 over Canterbury United, home and away) and Two draws (3–3 at home vs Waikato and 1–1 away vs Wellington). Despite the season been seven games shorter they still managed to score three more goals than the previous season.
After a good start to the 2011–12 season Otago United lost several key players and slumped to a run of one draw and seven defeats. A 3–3 draw with Waikato in the final game of the season earned them 6th spot on the table. The high points of coach Murray's first year in charge were perhaps the blooding of several promising new young players and the selection of team captain Tristan Prattley in the NZ National under-23 Football team.
Gran's Remedy was the sponsor for the 2012–13 season, but the loss of Prattley (to Waitakere United) and NZ National under-20 Football team representative Joel Stevens (to injury) mid-way through the season severely hampered Otago, and they could only finish in 7th place with just two wins – avoiding the wooden spoon only on goal-difference.
It participates in the ISPS Handa Premiership, with Forsyth Barr Stadium as its home ground. Their previous home stadia have been the much smaller Caledonian Ground (the traditional home of Otago Football), in the city's north (2004–07); Carisbrook, in the South Dunedin suburb of Caversham (2007, 2009–11), and Sunnyvale Park in the southwestern suburb of Green Island (2008).
The team has been based at the new Forsyth Barr Stadium since the 2011–12 ASB Premiership season.
In the first season Otago United was coached by former Fulham Assistant Johan Koustall. The second season saw the arrival of former Irish International Terry Phelan to be the clubs player/coach. This lasted for four seasons until the end of the 2008–09 season where due to poor results he was replaced by his assistant Malcolm Fleming. Fleming coached for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons, but in August 2011 stepped down citing lack of funds to bring in players from outside the region, concerns that playing young local players could be detrimental, and the need for changes on the Otago United board.
In September 2011 it was announced that Caversham AFC coach, Richard Murray would take the reins for the 2011–12 season. Richard Murray and assistant Andy Duncan were reappointed for the 2012–13 season, but after the worst ever points return in a season the reign of Murray and Duncan was over.
The coaching position for 2013–14 was taken by Brazilian Luiz Uehara who approached the job with a long-term view and a desire to use local players; nevertheless he stated his prime focus was "on performance and playing a good level of football". After Uehara's first season, a review following Southern United's second-last placing prompted the board to advertise the head coach position for the next two seasons. Uehara did not reapply for the position, stating he wanted to take a break from the game.
Mike Fridge was appointed for two seasons starting in 2014–15, with Tony Martin as his assistant. Fridge's poor performance led to his eventual demise, with Irishman Paul O'Reilly later appointed as the new coach in July 2016.
- Johan Koustall (2004–05)
- Terry Phelan (1 July 2006 – 30 June 2009)
- Malcolm Fleming (1 July 2009 – 30 June 2011)
- Richard Murray (1 July 2011 – 30 June 2013)
- Luiz Uehara (1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014)
- Mike Fridge (1 July 2014 – June 2016)
- Paul O'Reilly (21 June 2016 – )
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.