Waitakere United 1, Eastern Suburbs 1
Trusts Stadium, Auckland, January 29 2017
As regular readers would have heard me say often, I support two teams – Waikato and whoever is playing Auckland. This always presents a dilemma when watching two Auckland sides play.
I am the kind of person who needs to support one team or the other to get full enjoyment from football. I don’t do ‘neutral’. But what to do when I don’t have any love for either side? I have to hold my nose and pick one. But which one?
There are lots of ways to decide. The one with the best name, the one with the best strip, the one that hasn’t annoyed me in some way recently – usually by exhibiting a complete lack of manners by beating another team I like. Sometimes you are picking a team to cheer for, while other times it’s more about having a team to cheer against.
I discovered an interesting new system yesterday though!
On the way into Trusts Stadium for this East/West Stirling Sports Premiership derby I ran into a mate of mine from another life – an old Labour Party stalwart who I’ve sat through many an LEC (Labour Electorate Committee) meeting with. When I asked him who he was there to support, his answer rendered me speechless for a moment… “not those ****ing Muldoon bastards that’s for sure!!!”
As my brain was ticking over, he followed it up with “I suppose you’re too young to remember that ****head…”
I’m not. I might have only been 8 when he left office but Sir Robert (or ‘Piggy’ as we used to call him) still casts a long shadow over New Zealand public policy and probably always will. What stumped me was what on God’s green earth he’s got to do with either Eastern Suburbs or Waitakere! My answer eventually came – “he was MP for Tamaki!!” Of course he was.
Strange as it might seem to non-politicos, I decided to silently ignore the reality of who the current MP for the Fred Taylor Park area is and adopt this logic myself!
This was rotten luck for Waitakere. Of course they inevitably suffered the curse of Enzo and conceded a goal against the run of play in the 33rd minute, from the boot of ‘Angry Sean’ Lovemore, to go into the break 1-0 down.
They eventually earned their equaliser in the 77th minute when Dylan Manickum was brought down in the penalty area. Suburbs keeper Silvio Rodic managed to parry the spot kick but only as far as the advancing penalty taker, Dylan Stansfield, who made no mistake with his second attempt.
Both sides worked hard to find the winner and either could have got one, but it wasn’t to be and the ‘home crowd scattered for the turnstiles’ with honours even.
From where I was standing, the only thing lacking from a pulsating encounter was a striker or two at either end who had worn their shooting boots to the ground as a number of shots were both pushed wide and skied into what would be Row Z if there were seats behind the goals.
But in stark contrast to the last couple of matches I’ve attended, this was a rather enjoyable afternoon.
Not bad for two Auckland teams, each representing PMs I despise!
Coffee machine watch: Yesterday’s lucky number was 1, if you can believe that. Even more ridiculous is I had 5!! I am beginning to suspect they are deliberately taunting me…
For the avoidance of doubt, neither I nor my NZLP comrade really hold Eastern Suburbs Football Club responsible for the Dawn Raids, the Dancing Cossacks, the Springbok Tour or any other aspect of Sir Robert Muldoon’s ugly legacy… Besides, Michael Joseph Savage rests in the Tamaki electorate too so…
I’m told Sir Robert did play a bit of football for Mount Albert Grammar Old Boys though so I do reserve the right to hold MAP responsible.
Categories: NZ Men's National League
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/