Auckland club Birkenhead United have formed a strategic partnership with Scottish Premiership club St Mirren.
The arrangement will see exchange of players and coaches as well as the sharing of resources and expertise to the benefit of both clubs.
Birkenhead join a number of other clubs to enter into similar agreements with St Mirren.
These include New Zealand’s Nelson Suburbs, Northern Irish side Rosario YFC and Australians Para Hills Knights SC.
St Mirren Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: “We are delighted to officially become strategic partners with Birkenhead United and Nelson Suburbs.
“We believe that these partnerships will bring significant benefits on the field in terms of talent recruitment, as well as commercially and operationally as we share our knowledge and resources.
“The partnerships are a key part of our vision in growing the St Mirren brand and expanding our footprint worldwide. We are very much looking forward to working with Birkenhead United and Nelson Suburbs.”
David Williams from Birkenhead United said: “The opportunity to partner with a professional club enables a number of new outcomes for Birkenhead United.
“We are further enabled on a journey to improve the level and quality of coaching we can provide to our community, to both the participation and elite groups.
“For any player with an aspiration to an elite or professional career in football the opportunity offered by this partnership becomes an explicit part of an attraction and recruitment policy for us.”
“We believe that this formal partnership, at a club level, can only be a positive for both NZ Football as a whole, raising the profile of football both within and outside the borders, and for the potential opportunity for representative players into the future.”
Gary Booth from Nelson Suburbs said: “Developing a pathway for growth and resource sharing between our club and a club of St Mirren’s stature is exciting for Nelson Suburbs.
“We believe it will be hugely beneficial for our players, managers and coaches to be able to share knowledge and learn from a leading Scottish Premiership club and it can only strengthen and add value to our club.
“Nelson Suburbs sees this partnership as a way to support young, kiwi players as they transition overseas, giving them a European platform and environment to acclimate and train and play at a professional level. It also serves as a platform to showcase the standard and quality of New Zealand players to the rest of Europe.”
Photo: St Mirren FC’s Tony Fitzpatrick (right) with club staff.
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