Papakura City 2, AFC Fury 4 (Fury won 5-2 on aggregate)
Bruce Pullman Park, Auckland, October 5 2013
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
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.