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Didn’t. Died.

WaiBOP United 2, Canterbury United 3
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, February 7 2016

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It was a do or die game for WaiBOP United, the pundits told us.

From a WaiBOP fan’s point of view – we didn’t, so I guess that means we died.

Not entirely – there is still a faint hope. The only realistic way of finishing fourth now is to beat Hawkes Bay at Park Island next week, beat the Weenix at the Mount the week after, then hope that Waitakere do us a favour (yes I know) by beating Hawkes Bay in the final round. Even then it would come down to goal difference. And after all that, assuming everything goes according to plan, we will have booked ourselves a semi-final at……. Kiwitea Street…

I briefly considered making this a one word post:

Sad.

Because I am and I’m not really sure there is a lot to add. But I’m Italian, so keeping it to one word was never a serious option…

Since the decision to replace them with Hamilton Wanderers next season, a lot of people have quipped that WaiBOP are a ‘dead club walking’. The grim reality is that whether the last rights are quite ready to be administered or not probably makes little difference after yesterday’s result. They are unlikely to have the goods to win the ASB Premiership and given they won’t exist when the Oceania confederation’s champions league tournament is played, it appears they are not even eligible for the O-League. So they are only playing for pride now in any event.

It’s a farewell tour they are on really, more so than a football season. And that is sad. But it would still mean something to me, as a fan, if they could finish things off with a semi-final appearance to put a full stop on things.

And just to throw another cliché in here – you live by the sword, you die by the sword!

The corresponding fixture to this last year, WaiBOP vs Canterbury in Cambridge, was a truly epic seven goal game of football that will live on in my memory as the best I’ve ever seen. It’s not so much fun when you’re on the receiving end though!

Still, that equalising goal was pretty awesome. I almost jumped as high as I did when we got the equivalent goal last January! But the draw was never going to be enough and they had to push for a winner. As it happened, to be two nil down at half time, come storming back to 2-2 with ten minutes or so remaining only lose it right at the death is truly soul destroying. But also the very definition of WaiBOP! Such a big tease, that team is! This is why we love them…

So after that, what of the rest of the season from my perspective?

In all likelihood, the next game I see will be the last in franchise history – Sunday 28 February at Kiwitea Street. I am strangely looking forward to it.

In some ways, deep down inside, I hope the wheels all lock into place. They should go into that last game in 4th position. Then they should blow it in the last game… Because that would just be so quintessentially ‘peak WaiBOP’ that I can’t think of a more fundamentally perfect way to go out!

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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Enzo Giordani

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: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

2 replies

  1. Funny! Literally five minutes before reading this I took a look at the table and I thought ” you know what – it’s not over for them yet!” It is not crazy to think that WaiBop will beat Hawkes Bay and the Phoenix and that Wellington also beats Hawkes Bay and that Waitakere repeats their performance against Hawkes Bay! Is it crazy to think that?
    We will see.

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