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Around the Forums – Bigoted bingo


Welcome to another edition of ‘Around the Forums’ – a monthly feature where I read the Northern League Forum, and its moderately more civilised cousin Yellow Fever, so you don’t have to! You’re welcome.

We start with a look at the Northern League’s newest entity. Franklin United is an exciting new joint venture bringing together the best of two much loved football clubs – Waiuku and Pukekohe. And the first thing any new club needs, well before they appoint a coach, is a Northern League forum thread with a bit of spiteful speculation about who that coach should be! On this occasion, the question was raised by ‘Asker’:

“Apparently there’s about to be a big announcement on who the Franklin United coach will be. Rumor is it’s a big name, anyone got any ideas who it is?”

‘FrankLen’ had one answer…

“Len Brown”

‘Oh Dear’ had another:

“Steve Upfold as 1st team coach with the short haired Puke girl as his assistant. Geoff Cooper as reserves coach and Mark O’Donnell as director of football. Two dinosaurs and a 1st team coach with no NRFL experience. I like Jim but have to question these appointments. I’m sure we’ll all be watching this one closely.”

The “short haired Puke girl” [give me strength…] is Tracy Wrigley, of Pukekohe Women’s Premier and Auckland ASB Women’s League coaching fame. ‘Jason O’ was positive about this rumour:

“I’ve worked with Steve and Tracy in the past and think they’re a good combination, learnt a lot from them which has helped both my coaching and playing. I’ll also be following the team with keen interest.”

‘Sugar Coating’, on the other hand, was in what might be considered the sceptical camp…

“So they look good on paper but what are their achievements? Did she have anything to do with Puke 1st team last year because they finished bottom. And what is Upfold got to show for all these qualifications?”

My mum always used to tell me that “she’s the cat’s mother”. What’s so hard about using Tracy’s name? It’s right there further up the thread! And even if it wasn’t, is a google search that hard? But the real question is this: would this commenter have given her more respect if she was a he? I suspect so.

After that, ‘Deliver’ then gave us some useful criteria that all clubs should use when making coaching appointments:

“This is what a coach has to deliver:

the ability to coach
attract players
develop players

If somebody wants to put the effort in to get a badge it doesn’t necessarily make them a good coach!”

Good to know.

On the subject of sexism, the Northern League Forum’s Women’s Premier forum is never a place where you find any of that……… And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. It usually tends to manifest itself in levels of criticism directed at female coaches that you never see aimed at men in the same position.

‘Giveitup’ built up towards his or her real gripe with this:

“Not very hard to see where Auckland will finish in this league!

Just above the teams that can’t even win a game!

Very poor!”

And this:

“I am waiting to hear the excuses!

Auckland have the largest number of players to choose from!

Yet will be down near the bottom at the end!”

Eventually somebody took the bait. It was ‘Who?’ that provided the opening that ‘Giveitup’ had been fishing for:

“And so who would you have in the team who isn’t in there?

All well and good having a large player base, but talent is growing elsewhere…”


“I would be starting with the coach.

Is this the best coach?

The best coach who has been around the womens game and had results.


And then sure as night follows day, in comes ‘Mr Bean’ with a rehash of last year’s equivalent bandwagon:

“I remember Northern had Jenny Bindon last year and they didn’t do very well.

They didn’t get her back.”

Thankfully it was at this point that ‘Nil Nil’ directed our attention to a result that shut everyone up!

“AFF V MAINLAND 0-0 AFF v Last year’s comp winners AND away would take that result I’d say.”

Timing is everything.

After all that nonsense, it’s time to lighten the load with some good old fashioned transfer gossip! Of course, when I say lighten the load I mean copy and paste more nonsense… ‘Reporter’:

“Anyone know of any transfer news?
I’ve heard Shaker will leave Papatoetoe
A few fijians will leave Kura
Manukau have cash to blow on imports”

And then this from ‘M Byrne’:

“I think you mean Manukau have hash and blow for the inmates.”

Glad we have moved on from sexism to casual racism…

‘The Ghost’ wasn’t holding back in his analysis either…

“Re Shaker – who would want him? He’s a mercenary of the lowest form – like gum stuck to your shoe… with no club loyalty at all.

Oh…nice to see the u17’s perform (sorry, it was actually the antithesis of perform) this morning. All we could see was a bunch of petulant little twats showing bad sportsmanship, which is obviously led by the management (Hay & co moaning like a bunch of idiots) – good stuff management. No coincidence there given who is the manager. A fine upstanding individual.

Some players of talent in the NZ side, but talk about greedy selfish play at times. Rogerson – stop being a lady-boy and play for your team! 15 offsides? Missed penalty. Missed golden chances. Poor coaching. Great keeper.”

Aaaaaaaand homophobia too. We have bigoted bingo!

Meanwhile, the biggest news in New Zealand domestic football at the moment is undoubtedly the imminent shake-up of the ASB Premiership. With the past month heralding some public announcements of clubs applying for licenses, it would be remiss of me not to include some of the discussion of that subject here.

On the Northern League Forum, ‘Where’s the Rothmans ?’ was the first to raise the issue:

“See that North Shore and Takapuna want to combine for a place in new winter Nat League so apart from Central/Akl City who else might be interested ?

Big Clubs to me numbers and support wise with talent irrelevant for now that might have a go are 3 Kings ,Eastern Suburbs ,Western Springs a version from Waitakere with say Birkenhead (who I hear have said No already) no clubs out South screamingly obvious (might need a combo)?”

And ‘Hamilton Wanderers In for Waibop’ had the other big scoop:

“By going to clubs Waibop indorse Hamilton Wanderers to be the reps due to cash and effort req.

Of note Peter Smith is leaving Waibop to be new Mt Albert Grammar Head of Football in2016 for boys and girls follows Fallon and Marshall into role good luck Peter.(lots of young Ferns still be there next year)”

But why discuss the topic at hand when you can derail the conversation by badmouthing someone? ‘RIP MAGS’:

“What a massive mistake for MAGS, and what a change in philosophy for Peter Smith. His mantra whilst coaching the incredibly unsuccessful BOP Women’s National league team, was to discourage girls from playing for their school, and to only play for the Club. Should make for some interesting conversations at MAGS, now that a school is paying his Salary.”

Over on the Yellow Fever forum, where discussion of this issue was moderately more cerebral, ‘Marto’ made this contribution:

“As a Waikato fan I think granting our licence to the Wanderers would be a big mistake.  They have never been a big supporter of Hamilton AFC, Waikato United, Melville United, Waikato AFC or the current WaiBop United.  They have always worried more about their own patch.

I’m aware of many WaiBop fans who support Ngaruawahia, Melville, Cambridge and Claudelands who will never attend a Wanderers match at any level as a Wanderers fan (myself included).

I really hope our Federation thinks very carefully about this.”

Then along came the big daddy – Bruce Holloway:

“The national league is always most appreciated when a region/club/franchise doesn’t have it.

When they do have it, it becomes “less of a thing”, somehow.

The Nelson district has a particularly tortured history.

Nelson was arguably the leading South Island province in the three years of the first summer national league. (1996-98)

But  Soccer New Zealand dumped them for failing to satisfy that they could meet the financial criteria – only for them to win an injunction and legal appeal and prompt the late formation of a 11-team league for 1997-98. (Justice Hammond ruled that Nelson could be readmitted to the summer league provided it paid a $30,000 entry fee within a week).

Then in 1998 it was former Nelson chairman Warwick Heal who headed the review committee which shocked in proposing the formation of an 8-team South Pacific Cup, which would include a team from Fiji, but cost $120,000 plus GST to enter. It proved totally unreaslitic.

Ironically, by 2000 Nelson were forced to withdraw from the winter competition because of financial difficulties, $50,000 in debt.

Then by 2003 they were trying to get back in, but weren’t accepted.”

Bruce’s ‘National League Debates’ is the bible on this topic so when he speaks you sit up and take notice. But ‘The JourneyFan’ is also a well-respected student of the history of the game:

“Big difference for Tasman United is that all clubs (in Nelson & Marlborough) are behind it, in the past there was Nelson United (now FC Nelson), then the summer league came along and it was Nelson Suburbs. Then there is the separate entity of Youth League Nelson Falcons.

Not sure what crowds are like this season, but when I was living down there the Falcons were getting around 4-500 a game.”

Bruce replies:

“In the original summer league Nelson reported crowds of 600-700 at Guppy Park – but estimated they actually needed 1000 a game to break even when they withdrew with major debt in 2000.

(Still, that’s no different to the national league “maths” elsewhere.)

Like most places, I imagine Tasman would do a fine bang-up job for the first couple of seasons. It’s usually the third season that the real struggle begins.

I imagine there will be much empathy towards a Nelson bid from older fans.”

Back to the women’s game again now, a subject on which the Yellow Fever Forum’s ‘Ronaldo’ had this observation to make:

“Capital worst team performance for the last 5-6 years…Cap F. making horrible calls re coaching staff plus mainly Upper Hutt running the show…ooppssss sorry I meant to say Wendy H and Bria….”

Once again, two women in the gun when I don’t recall seeing similar criticism of other teams that finished below Capital on the table. Coincidence?

‘The JourneyFan’, on the other hand, was able to put Capital’s disappointing showing into historical perspective:

“It’s actually the first time a Wellington team has finished outside the top 4 in women’s football EVER (that’s going back to the 1970’s and the old National Tournament)

In the games I saw, Capital were clearly out of their depth in this league, they started to look more organised after they changed coaches (about 3 games in). I don’t know what the politics of this were but it was a real shame that none of the Champion Seatoun side were in the team.”

And now it’s time for…. Drumroll please……..


The ‘Best Bite Back Award’! Presented monthly to the poster with the most withering comeback. Bruce Holloway has won this one before, but this time I’m giving it to him, not for a jibe at another commenter, but for a stunning act of tit for tat on a player who is perceived to have wronged WaiBOP fans in the past:

“An exceptionally late finish to a long day when one WaiBOP player – no names, but it was Max Manko if you are reading this Grant – struggled for 90-odd minutes to piss for the drug test. (If you are battling the logistical struggles of hosting a female curtain raiser to a male national league match with live TV dictates at a club venue where facilities are stretched and the weather is dodgy, you can pretty much guarantee that will be the day they choose to complicate things by insisting on drug testing with their own exclusive room etc.)”

An honourable mention goes to ‘Balbi’ for adding this:

“Looks like Manko can take the piss, but not give it.”

And finally, we end this month’s summary with a look at a Yellow Fever locked thread. They are always worth a trawl through to see where it all went horribly wrong… This one was called ‘Support the banned fans’ and began with this call to arms from ‘Bevan’:

“Should we support the banned fans in Australia, as fans of other A-League clubs have done?

It would seem an appropriate response since they supported the #SaveTheNix campaign.

How about a banner?”

It was all going swimmingly until along came everyone’s favourite curmudgeon, that great leader of social change,  ‘Napier Phoenix’, who had this to say:

“I say do absolutely nothing…. we should be supporting the banning of football hooligans not the opposite.”

‘patrick478’ bit first:

“I take it you haven’t followed this at all?

None of us are advocating for people who’ve set flares off to be allowed to continue to attend A-League games.

Better to have no opinion on something than an uninformed one, NP.”

But ‘Napier Phoenix’ was having none of it:

“OK, I’ll bite – tell me exactly how I’m wrong. Try and be factual in doing so too please. Forget all the knee-jerk liberal dribble and tell me how the Australian legal system doesn’t allow a person to test these bans in Court or in any other legislative forum.”

Yes, ‘tell me exactly how I’m wrong and don’t forget to do it on my terms and be prepared for me to dismiss you as a pinko commie liberal if you put so much as a toenail out of line.’

In a stunning act of futility, ‘Kyle1502’ tried to give him what he was asking for:

From the Deputy Lord Mayor of Parramatta :

“I know some of the people banned. They’ve come and spoken to me after they’ve been banned to see if I can do anything, but there is no FFA appeals process. In some of the cases, they’ve gone to court, been acquitted by a court of law, and yet the ban is still upheld. Now is the FFA above the law?””

But of course, nothing was going to stop ‘Napier Phoenix’ from picking up this month’s…


‘Whatever Award’ – the prize that goes to the commenter that makes you roll your eyes the most:

“You know what my real issue is? That the lunatics are starting to run the asylum. It appears that the new elite of YF and their supporters are trying to turn YF into some sort of pseudo political party and are trying to move the group away from the original concept of a group of football supporters of the Phoenix. I have no problem with you having whatever set of views/standards/ethics you choose to have but please have some respect for those that don’t wish to have us take a stand on every issue of the day or wish to have others social or political views rammed down our throats at every opportunity. Don’t turn this group into something wider than it should be please.”


“This is going nowhere”

Categories: Around The Forums

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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.

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