After a herculean effort by the executive committee of the legendary soccer club, West Adelaide Hellas, currently playing in the Football Federation SA’s National Premier League, has reached its goal of finally having its own place to call home.
“With tremendous assistance by the state government and in particular Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, we are now in a position to proceed with building one of South Australia’s finest sports complexes,” club chairman Alex Alexandrou tells Neos Kosmos.
“This is an exciting and much-needed development for the club as well as our community around the western suburbs, catering for future generations, especially those with a Greek background.”
Located in Kilburn, the Hellas Park SportPlex project – with an estimated cost of $8 million – will deliver a new permanent home ground for West Adelaide Hellas Soccer Club as part of an all-encompassing community recreation facility. It will include a 5,000 capacity rectangular sports ground which will be used up to 30-40 times a year, and as a community facility for over 300 days a year.
Hellas Park SportPlex will include a new, full-size sports pitch, club offices, and a multi-purpose function centre with a capacity for 500 people.
Additionally, the complex will feature: undercover spectator seating for 750 people; a photographers’ room; press box and media facilities; club dressing/changing rooms for four teams; match official rooms; anti-doping control room; seminar room; café and catering facilities; physiotherapy suite, designed after consultation with West Adelaide Hellas’ medical team, in order to provide high-quality consulting rooms for those seeking advice and treatment.
In addition to providing a quality sporting and recreational facility, the site is being developed to provide a broad facility for all ages within the wider Adelaide community, in particular Australian Greeks. An important aspect of the project is also a second community soccer sports ground with its own change-rooms and community clubhouse.
“We are a soccer club but we are a Greek club first. When someone visits our grounds, we want them to feel like they are in Greece,” adds Alexandrou, while admitting that West Adelaide Hellas is still facing the old issue of an ethnic name appearing on the team’s badge.
Although the executive club committee is not relying on any other Greek club to assist them in the process, there is hope that, on completion, more Greek organisations will jump on board.
Andy Haralampopoulos, vice chairman of West Adelaide Hellas, is adamant that the wealth of the Greek community accumulated in SA should not be given away or lost.
“There are always doubters. Once we start showing them in concrete form what our vision truly involves, then we can come together as a strong Greek community and unite.”
Chairman Alex Alexandrou echoes the same sentiment, acknowledging that the biggest advantage in the club’s arsenal is that it is one of the few clubs in South Australia that is not aligned.
“We are like a train travelling at high speed. We have a vision and we know where we are heading.
“If other syllogoi jump on our train then we can certainly travel faster,” he concludes.