All going to plan, YoungHeart Manawatu will have a spot in next season's expanded national league.
New Zealand Football has invited the franchises to re-apply for their national league licences for the next three years as well as potential new franchises, with current licences finishing at the end of this season.
It is likely the league will be expanded to 10 teams with a Nelson team and a New Zealand under-20s side possibilities, but Wairarapa and another Auckland team are other options.
Manawatu's record has been poor during the past two seasons, but this wouldn't count against YoungHeart's application, according to chairman Neil Perry, especially with the financial improvements they have made recently.
Perry believed they had put together a solid proposal for another three years.
"For the sum of our total efforts, we felt we had done ourselves and the footballers of Manawatu justice," he said. "We put together a solid proposal of our vision, our philosophy and where we're heading to."
Manawatu have only won two games in the past 2 seasons but they have got their finances right and the board is in a good position.
"We're conscious while we haven't had the best results over recent times, our standards are improving."
The Wairarapa bid is putting a lot of work in, but it would drain the player depth in the region with Hawke's Bay United, Manawatu, and Team Wellington all in the lower North Island, especially as a lot of Manawatu players are with Wairarapa United in the Central League.
"It would make things interesting for ourselves, Wellington and Hawke's Bay," Perry said.
There are a lot of conditions franchises need to meet to get a licence, which include ground requirements, and Memorial Park meets all of those.
Perry was unsure when to expect a confirmation of their spot in the league, but was confident they would be in the fold for next season having finished at an average of fifth place during their eight years in the league.
"Let's face it, someone's got to finish bottom of the league and we hate the fact that it was us last year."
The youth league has increased this year with a Nelson team and the New Zealand under-17s side, so it is likely the national league will follow suit.
- Manawatu Standard
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