New Zealand’s oldest football club, North Shore United, are one match away from setting the all-time record for appearing in the final of the Chatham Cup.
After a 2021 cup competition disrupted by COIVD-19, Shore head to Wellington to play Miramar Rangers in the semi-final with the winner set to face Cashmere Technical, of Christchurch.
The Shore-Miramar semi-final will be held at Newtown Park on Sunday February 20, 2022 (2pm kick off), almost six months to the day when the game was first scheduled to take place.
A Shore victory will take them to a Chatham Cup final for a record 13th time, going past Mount Wellington with whom they currently share the record.
The protracted cup run has held all sorts of challenges for North Shore, a club founded in 1886.
Competition rules say the club has to self-fund 80% of the costs of participating in the semi-final, meaning the club has had to find about $10,000 to continue their cup dream.
They reached the semi-finals stage under the leadership of coach Malcolm McPherson who resigned last August.
The club has since appointed Valerio Raccuglia as the club’s Head Coach.
Raccuglia takes over as first-team coach for the 2022 season and the cup semi-final will be his first major test.
After a playing career in Italy, England and Denmark, he emigrated to New Zealand in 2011, working as Head Coach for cup opponents Miramar Rangers (2012-2014) who won the Central League twice.
He then spent three years as part of the Wellington Phoenix coaching staff before working with the Samoan U-19s and women’s national side, the New Zealand men’s U-20 and U-23 squads and serving as Bay Olympic’s Director of Football (2019-2021).
Meanwhile, no matter which clubs contest the final – date and venue still to be decided – it will be a game with plenty of Chatham Cup heritage.
Finalists Cashmere Technical will be playing in their 10th final – the first six played as Technical Old Boys and a seventh as Christchurch Technical. They will be chasing their fourth cup victory, having won previously in 1948, 2013 and 2014.
If Miramar Rangers can win the cup, it’ll be their fifth day of glory, having won in 1966, 1992, 2004 and 2010.
But the record books beckon for North Shore who first won the trophy seventy years ago, in 1952 (which they shared with Western, of Christchurch). Their other wins came in 1960, 1963, 1967, 1979 and 1986.
Can 2022 end a 36-year drought for the club and bring another record to one of the country’s most accomplished clubs?
We’ll find out on February 20.
Allen Hill Stadium … will the Chatham Cup be going back to North Shore United’s trophy cabinet in Devonport?