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The fast and the furious

Papakura City 2, AFC Fury 4 (Fury won 5-2 on aggregate)
Bruce Pullman Park, Auckland, October 5 2013

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Some say he lives in an underground lair beneath White Island, has a staircase that leads down to the fires of hell, and that that’s where he recruits most of his players. Others say he’s so rich that Russell Coutts is coming home especially to manage his team next year. All we know is, he’s called David Cook, and his team is in Northern Division 2!

AFC Fury of Tauranga have won promotion, having comprehensively outplayed, out witted and out classed Papakura City today. The game was played on an absolute carpet of a rugby pitch in Takanini, away from Kura’s usual home at McLennan Park, and that suited the visitors right down to the ground – literally!

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Kura, unlucky not to reverse last season’s relegation at the start of the year when they were pipped at the post by Claudelands for the vacancy created by the withdrawal of Matamata. They fought hard all season to win the conference, but now they have fallen at the final hurdle once again.

That’s twice in a row now that WaiBOP teams have swept aside the best the AFF/NFF conference has to offer. So must we ask the question – is the Waikato/Bay of Plenty federation league stronger than the conference? Or is this a combination of luck (in the case of Claudelands) and throwing money at it in the case of Fury?

Some of the rumours flying around at the moment about Fury, centred around their patriarch/benefactor/coach/sugar daddy (choose one depending on whichever particular rumour you are listening to at any given time) are staggering. If some of them are only half true, they still make you sit up and take notice.

“Cook recruits players in backpacker hostels.”

“He walks up and down the Mount and recruits people playing on the beach.”

“The team changes from one week to the next, depending on who he’s ‘hired’ this week.”

“Players earn $300 per game.”

“If they get promoted to the Northern League, they will relocate to Hamilton and half the squad will be based in Auckland so they don’t have to travel for away games.”

One thing I can confirm is that Hamilton Wanderers and former Waikato FC coach Mark Cossey was taking their warm-up today and this will only fuel rumours that Cook has hired him to coach them next season.

The other thing I’ll say is that there were lots and lots of ‘neutrals’ in attendance today from Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and further North. Almost to a person, they told me they were hoping for a Papakura victory. Now, Kura are not exactly a club that usually wins too many popularity contests if you know what I mean, so there is obviously something about Fury that people simply don’t like.

I hate the term ‘tall poppy syndrome’. Like ‘political correctness’, it’s one of those clichés people use to shut down debate. Oftentimes there are good reasons for disliking someone or something successful, but instead of answering those concerns, folks simply accuse critics of tall poppy syndrome. It’s lazy. But is it justified in this case?

Where’s the harm in resources being put into football at this level, when the game is by and large starved of funds? Presumably if the rumours are true and Cook wasn’t spending money on this particular hobby, he’d be spending it on another hobby outside the game? Therefore, if he wants to buy his way to Premier Division glory by throwing new money at it that would not otherwise be spent on juniors, how can it be a bad thing? Seems like a victimless crime to me…

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 2

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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.

7 replies

  1. Isn’t there a case for arguing that, long term, his money would be far better spent on youth development at his club? Hiring loads of foreign mercenaries might give them short term success, but is that growing the club? From what I gather, they won’t even be able to field a Reserve team in the NRFL.

  2. Spelling should be… David COOK.

    TC: Youth players would not have got Fury promoted to the northern league. That has required very experienced players. Cook has only done what has been necessary to achieve the first milestone in a long road back. Plenty of time to invest in youth.

    We should at least acknowledge Dave’s achievement 16 years after his beloved Mt Maunganui disappeared off the football landscape (with its facilities then annexed by Tauranga City).

    Good to finally see another BOP team in the northern league… there was a time when there were 8-9 of them.

  3. It’s all not only about youth development. When these youth’s grow up and have to start earning a living , they drop out of the game because they can’t earn any money in football in NZ. If they don’t have some other passport other than a kiwi one, they have nowhere else to go in NZ. Money is required at all levels of the game. Not just in youth. Good on you , Mr Cook

  4. For all the talk of Fury buying this, Cook recruiting that….at the end of the day that’s the game. Lets also not forget that Kura were also wielding the cheque book ever since the AFF rolled the life-line carpet out for entry back into the NRFL.
    I for one have no issues with Fury winning the game the way they did. Having watched the full 90 minutes, they truly outplayed Kura in everyway. The two central midfielders dominated Kura (their skipper was non-existent) and the Number 17 up front will be a handful for many Div 2 Defenses next season.

    The think grating me is this, if Kura were aware that Fury could play that kind of football……why oh why did you move the game to a mini-Wembley. Shot yourselves right in the foot there…

    1. “The think grating me is this, if Kura were aware that Fury could play that kind of football……why oh why did you move the game to a mini-Wembley. Shot yourselves right in the foot there…”

      Totally agree. The surface definitely seemed to suit Fury much more than it did Kura. Their supporters are saying they usually like to keep it on the deck, but there wasn’t much evidence of it on Saturday. If I was them I would have been looking for the lumpiest potato paddock within a 10km radius to play the game on… Lesson learned I’m sure.

  5. Fury were by far the better team. Kura had two players only and they lacked any fluidity, rarely getting more than 3 consecutive passes together. Their lack of a game plan showed and they could not deal with Fury’s pace or slick passing. As for Dave Cook he will be a superstar in Div 2 as he is a man on a mission. He will add to the general publicity for the division and every game that Fury play will be a cup final as they will be “the team to beat”. All good for football and great for NRFL headlines. Welcome to DIV 2 Fury and especially Mr Cook, your after match speeches will be a welcome respite from the usual boring soundbites of “game of two halves” etc.. Finally a man who speaks his mind and will add real attitude to the NRFL.

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