NZ Knights might reappear with new name, logo

A huge crowd attended the last home game of the New Zealand Knights in the A-League regular season. The 4,936 spectators - 60 percent more than the average crowd at Auckland's North Harbour Stadium during 2006/07 - beat Perth Glory 2-0 to end up only one point behind Glory at the bottom of the 8-team A-League table. The win completed a great end-of-season run under interim coach Ricki Herbert of three wins and a draw from their last four games.

Noisy fans amongst the club's second-largest home crowd of the year demanded that the A-League keep a professional New Zealand club in its ranks next year. They reportedly chanted "are you watching Matt Carroll (Football Federation Australia's chief of operations)" and "there's only one Ricki Herbert" by the end of the game. The club's operating license was stripped from its previous owners, led by British-based businessman Brian Katzen, a month ago, for breach of franchise obligations through failure to pay fees due to the league and FFA.

Herbert, who also coaches the New Zealand national team, said he was keen to be involved. "My thought have always been that professional football in New Zealand is a must," he told Andy Song of NZPA.

Matt Carroll and FFA chief executive Ben Buckley will travel to Auckland next Wednesday to meet interested bidders for the licence, and the governing body remains hopeful a solution will be found. "Put it this way, I'm a lot more optimistic than I was," Carroll told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There are two, if not three, consortiums who have shown an interest, and they're talking the right kind of numbers."

He said the FFA would not oppose a change of name and logo, but marketing and merchandising deadlines for next season meant any change would have to be decided by the end of this month.

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