Menu Home

The best little football ground in the world

Auckland City 5, Canterbury United 2
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, November 3 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last week’s marathon of three live football games in two days was a lot of fun, but not sustainable long term. So this weekend a difficult choice had to be made. Once again there was a feast of great games on offer, two ASB Premiership openers that featured all four semi-finalists from last season in addition to the great local derby between Northern and Auckland in the National Women’s League. At Fred Taylor Park tomorrow, Waitakere United play Team Wellington in a repeat of last year’s ASB final. While at Kiwitea Street today, the two losing semi-finalists, Auckland City and Canterbury United went head to head. I’ve chopped and changed my mind several times over the last few days, but in the end heart won out over head and I went for the football ground with the best atmosphere – Kiwitea Street hands down.

It might sound a bit over the top but this really is one of my favourite places in the world to watch football. It’s obviously no Old Trafford or Camp Nou, it’s teensy tiny, but that’s what is so great about it. Where else in the world can you watch a top club in a country’s national football top flight from a seat that’s literally touching distance from the players? It’s small but intimate. In some parts, you are right on top of the game, looking almost straight down on it. In others you are so close you feel a part of the action. Combine that with the great little band of ever present ultras singing original witty songs (Yellow Fever eat your heart out) and what you get is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable football experience. If you haven’t been to Kiwitea Street before, here’s a small taste:

The other good reason to choose this game was the fact that going into last season’s playoffs, Canterbury United were the form team and looked like being the fairytale dark horse capable of winning the league. It wasn’t to be though. After winning the first leg of their semi-final against Waitakere United 1-0, they succumbed in the return leg 5-2.

Somewhat sadly, 5-2 seems to be a score line that is becoming an all too unfortunate habit. Today, City’s first two goals were both far too easy, stabbed in by Adam Dickinson from close range. Their third courtesy of a nice Chris Bale shot looked to have safely locked away the points before half time. Canterbury provided a glimmer of hope right before the break though with a messy goal line scramble that resulted in a lifeline for the visitors.

Early in the second half it looked as if we were heading for a grandstand finish as Canterbury won a penalty that looked a bit dubious to me. But there was nothing dubious about Aaron Clapham’s conversion. Calmly chipping it Andrea Pirlo style (who’s Panenka?) into the opposite side of the net to the flailing keeper Tamati Williams. As it caressed the old onion bag my first thought was that one goal fully justified my decision to come here! The excitement was short lived however as finishes by Albert Riera and Emiliano Tade respectively confirmed what we already knew. Auckland had always looked the better of the two sides, perhaps at least partly due to the benefits of their competitive outing in last week’s Charity Cup, a luxury Canterbury didn’t enjoy.

Although some of the defence was a bit shoddy, it was still a good game to watch. It won’t be until December before I’m able to get back to Kiwitea Street again so all things considered I’m glad I chose the home of Auckland football for this week’s football treat. I’m already looking forward to next week when I’m back in Wellington for the Phoenix game against the Central Coast Mariners. The Cake Tin might be a step down from Kiwitea in atmosphere, but it’s still a step up in the quality of the football! Can’t wait.

Categories: NZ Men's National League

Tagged as:

Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

6 replies

  1. Good report and pretty spot on regards Kiwitea verus ANY other club in the ASB. A good crew keep the singing going at every match and travel away to quite a few as well.

  2. My only quibble with the Auckland City ultras is that even though I’m not a Waitakere United fan, I do live in West Auckland and find some of their song lyrics a bit challenging. I hope they don’t really hate Westies! :’-(

  3. “but it’s still a step up in the quality of the football!”

    No-one believes this. You clearly didn’t watch the Wanderers v Heart game this weekend… or the Newcastle v Victory game last weekend etc. Some of the worst football you’ll ever see. It’s a third rate football league at best.

  4. You’d need to be on some pretty strong hallucinogens to equate Boxall, Lochhead, Brockie, Totori, Downey, Smith and co with a step up in the quality of football.

    Same goes for D’appuzzo, Antonis, Haliti, Michael Bridge, Cole, Petratos, Elrich, Lawrence Thomas, Bru, Celeski, Cernak, in fact the whole of Victory squad, Kwasnik, Macallister, Hearfield, Ward, Jurman, Bolton, Caceres, Dilevski…the list goes on and on and on.

    Methinks you’ve been conned by the glossy marketing, the bright lights and Uncle Franks free sweeties.

    Frank (not Lowy)

  5. Hmmmmm firstly I never said the A League was UEFA Champions League standard. Obviously it is third rate or worse if first rate is European football and second rate is South American football. The A League is probably more like 6th rate but what else do you expect in this part of the world? Besides that though are the two of you seriously arguing that if Auckland City and Canterbury United were in the A League they would be able to compete? I don’t think so somehow…

  6. Make City and Canterbury full time (with the same or similar squads) and of course they could. But why would they want to be part of a massively over hyped plastic Australian football league?

    Do you think that in 2009 any of the A League sides would’ve beaten the champions of Africa? I was in Tahiti and saw the 2005 OFC CC. There was nothing between City and Sydney FC. I also saw City defeat Central Coast last season and City were light years ahead of Central Coast.

    You’re delusional if you think that the majority of the A League players are better than those in our national league. I just don’t know how Kiwi A League fans can keep up the pretence when the Phoenix sign players like Brockie, Totori, Boxall, Smith etc.

    Anyway, there’s no point having this discussion when you attend so few national league games each season.


%d bloggers like this: