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Wellington Phoenix 2, Western Sydney Wanderers 2
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, December 17 2016

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5,702 was the official attendance at Mount Smart Stadium last night.

In a city of 1.3 million people, only 5,702 of them could be bothered coming to watch a top class football game on a beautiful sunny evening with the home side coming off a great win last outing.

Hamilton, population 150,000, is certainly off the hook for their circa 5,000 strong crowd on a wet evening a week ago, when the Phoenix were coming off a horror run that was so bad that it saw the coach throw in the towel in the days leading up to the fixture.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Tron is looking positively heroic now!

It’s a real pity, because those who didn’t bother to show up missed a great evening. The ‘Nix came from two goals down to pick up a well-deserved point in front of a crowd that compensated for in passion what it lacked in numbers.

There will no doubt be a raft of excuses. There was an age-group tournament on in Wellington that a lot of young players and parents were at. It’s the holiday season, people are out of town. There wasn’t enough promotion and marketing. There’s no parking around Mount Smart. The dog ate my homework. My car broke down. Something came up. Blah, blah, blah…

It’s never the right timing, it’s never the right venue, it’s never the right anything. The fact is Aucklanders don’t support big football games, they never have supported big football games and there is absolutely no evidence at all to support any theories that, on some mythical perfect day, when some mythical perfect game is being played, Aucklanders will ever support a big football game.

It’s time to close the book on this once and for all. Auckland should never get an A-League franchise and there should be no talk of ever holding an intercontinental World Cup playoff in our nation’s biggest city until both the football community and regular punters drop the excuses, turn off their TVs and get off their couches to consistently come out and support the precious few A-League games we do get once or twice a year.

Until that day comes, Wellington is the home of football in this country. End of story.

And there’s a new rule. If you live in Auckland and you weren’t there last night, no matter what your excuse may be, you are banned from stating, in any way and in any forum, that any important football game of any description should be played in Auckland. This ban is in place until such a time as you have attended the next A-League game that will be hosted here despite the fact that we demonstrably don’t deserve it.

Rant over.

See you on Saturday March 4 at North Harbour Stadium… Yes, that’s right. North Harbour Stadium.


Categories: A-League

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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.

3 replies

  1. I was sure it was more like 9k. Never mind. I will go to every Nix match in Auckland as long as they still play them; and it was nice to see the parents and kids in Nix gear. Unfortunately, what doesn’t get much publicity is the fact that the Nix actually make more money from 5702 at Mt Smart than ANY game they play at the Ring of Fire. Wellington’s situation is screwy – they have a stadium which is totally unsuited for football and which loses money. If only a magician could magically teleport Mt Smart and Westpac Stadium to swap places.

  2. Fair call Enzo. A perfect day can’t get a big gate. The last Phoenix game I attended was the excellent Adelaide game at Eden Park a few years back, with an over 20k gate if I recall. Since then I have been unemployed, broke and unable to afford to attend. Your summary of Aucklanders is about right. My observations of living in Auckland for 50 years is that Auckland is not a sports town, except for All Blacks games. Locals work hard all week and some work weekends to keep that job, as I did for 30 years. The reality is that Aucklanders are spoilt for choice and only support winners in big numbers. Football is just another event competing against a family day at home or getting drunk with mates at the beach or bbq. No easy solutions for now.

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