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Fire and Agapanthus

Central United 5, Bay Olympic 0
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, August 26 2017

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Things I learned at the Chatham Cup semi-final on Saturday:

  • Kiwitea Street has a Roma pennant in the clubrooms.

Any club with Roma memorabilia always goes up in my estimations. I have never had the time to take a proper look at the rafters here in the past, but on Saturday I did get the opportunity for a close inspection and at the far end from the stairwell I hit pay dirt! This place just got cooler!! Of course, I also spotted a Nazio scarf, but the less said about that the better…

  • The visiting team at Kiwitea Street isn’t always outgunned in the vocal department.

I’m used to coming here and being serenaded by either the dulcet tones of the 248 Service or the percussive beats of Bucketman. Or both. It has never crossed my mind before that I would leave with anything rattling around in the depths of my God forsaken consciousness that isn’t related to Angel Berlanga’s Paella or something with “yellow yeeeellow” in it.

But, on Saturday, it was “Shane Knowles’ green and white army!”

Hats off to the Bay Olympic fans, they filled the grandstand and they made their presence well and truly known from kick-off until the final whistle in spite of the result. It was a masterclass in travelling support!

  • Agapanthus leaves might be green, fleshy and full of fluid but they can still be set alight – despite the fact that it has been raining pretty much every day for what seems like the past year or so.

I’m overweight and in my 40’s but I can run quite fast when properly motivated. Examples of this include but aren’t limited to being chased by wild animals, escaping burning buildings, getting to the nearest bathroom after a mouthful of bad chowder and getting close enough for a good photo when I see flares!

With about ten minutes left in this game my sixth sense for pyro told me to look to the far corner of the ground from where I was. It took a second or two to register that my favourite football thing was happening and after a quick calculation that I could make it over there before it fizzled out I was on my way!

I got there, got some shots and then one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year happened.

One of the ultras accidentally dropped his flare into the middle of the big clump of Agapanthus that I often fancy as a good vantage point to shoot photos from. And to everyone’s shock it caught fire!

As plumes of smoke wafted out poor old Colin Cook, a well-known Central United stalwart, was trying to put the fire out by madly slapping away at the plants with his hands as he angrily implored those of us in the immediate vicinity to “stop gawking and start helping!”

I must confess I was too busy laughing my ass off to be of any use. I am suitably ashamed of myself. Sorry Colin!

Yes, it’s true. Flares can be dangerous. Handle with care people! And maybe keep a bucket of water nearby…

Things I didn’t learn at the Chatham Cup semi-final on Saturday:

  • Trends change, pretenders come and go, but Kiwitea Street is still the best boutique football venue in New Zealand.

Waiheke has atmosphere, Cambridge has charm, Onehunga Mangere has scenery, Mangere United has food. But Kiwitea Street is to football in New Zealand what Harvest is to Neil Young – a feel good classic.

Oh, and one more thing too…

  • When Central United go deep into the Chatham Cup, you’d be a fool to bet against them.

Categories: NZ Chatham Cup

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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.

2 replies

  1. Great post Enzo and cool photos. A good funny read. Good work by the away B O fans. Top work by the CUFC squad. Yellow yellow all the way to the Cup Final.

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