Auckland City 1, Wellington Phoenix 0
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, September 28 2013
Oh dear, we’ll never hear the bloody end of this…
Auckland City FC’s fan base contains a section of folks who are absolutely convinced that their team is better than the Phoenix, belongs in the A League, and would probably hold their own against Barcelona. Not only are they convinced of this, but they will argue it until they are blue in the face, and arguing back with them has been known to be approximately as hazardous to your health as placing your head in a lion’s mouth while sticking it with a cattle prod.
This result is not going to help matters.
Yes, the Phoenix line-up was understrength. Yes, it was a pre-season friendly and you can never read anything into pre-season friendlies. Yes, the Nix are still getting used to a new coach and a new way of doing things. But no, none of those are valid excuses. This was still the Phoenix, these guys are still professionals playing against a team of guys with day jobs, and they still should have won. Not only did they not win, but they were fairly comprehensively outplayed for most of the game. The only reason why the score doesn’t more accurately reflect the home side’s dominance is Jacob Spoonley, City’s former goalkeeper, on loan to the Phoenix from Team Wellington. He played a blinder in the opening stanza before being subbed off at the half time break.
Does this mean that Auckland City are a better team than the Phoenix? Yes, it absolutely does beyond any shadow of a doubt. Just exactly the same way that AS Dragon’s 1-3 victory over Auckland City at Trusts Stadium back in April proves, beyond all hesitation, that they are a better side than both City and the Phoenix, and not only that, but that result also proves that the Tahitian league is vastly superior to the A League.
You heard it here first.
But all sarcasm aside, for now City fans will be enjoying their win and well they should. It was historic and well deserved. They were absolutely the better side on the day – nobody can argue with that and until the two sides meet again, in the debate over which team is better, this is all we have to go on.
The other thing that should be utterly uncontroversial is that this was a fabtastic occasion with a great crowd in attendance on a lovely sunny day. It would be perfect if this could become a regular pre-season fixture with some sort of trophy on the line. This might make both sides take it even more seriously than I’m sure they did yesterday, and that would inevitably lead to a much anticipated and thrilling annual event that might become popular enough to move into a bigger stadium. Perhaps after yesterday’s game, Phoenix management could burn the team-sheets and place the ashes in a small urn…
In the meantime, just don’t ask me to go anywhere near the Yellow Fever forum in the next few weeks. It must be hell in there…
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/