New spark for Footscray oval

By Lance Jenkinson

There could be a new hero for the congregation at Footscray’s VU Whitten Oval to revere.

In bygone eras, the likes of Jack Collins, Kelvin Templeton and Simon Beasley have been worshipped for their goalkicking exploits by adoring Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) fans.

Now a new star wants to get those watching on hill at the Geelong Road end, standing on the Doug Hawkins wing and sitting in the EJ Whitten Stand to their feet for his goal scoring brilliance. Besart Berisha, the all-time leading A-League goal scorer, is here and ready to add a new chapter to the Whitten Oval story.

The 34-year-old will line up for the west’s own A-League side, Western United, in a historic first ever game at the Whitten Oval against Adelaide United on Australian Day evening.

“I love to play in different stadiums and hopefully I can celebrate here,“ Berisha said.

“I hope we can show them good games and create something special here.“

Western United’s move to the Whitten Oval is designed to capture the imagination of sporting fans in the inner west.

United is hopeful those less inclined to travel to Geelong or Ballarat games will turn out for games virtually in their own backyard.

They are also hopeful of attracting new supporters, who are keen to see elite sport thrive in the western suburbs.

Berisha is calling on Western Bulldogs fans to come out in numbers and connect with Western United.

“I believe playing here will help a lot because we are very close to the city and a lot of supporters are here around the west,“ Berisha said.

“Hopefully a lot of Western Bulldogs supporters come too to see the first [A-League] football game down here.

“It’s close, up west, the Western Bulldogs have a lot of supporters around here and hopefully they come to watch us in their home ground here.

“We play on a special day, Australia Day here, so even more important for many supporters to come out and watch us.“

Western United’s next match will be against Central Coast Mariners at GMHBA Stadium this Sunday, which will double as a bushfire appeal game