Conflicting Loyalties at the Home & Garden Show


Wellington Phoenix 2 Auckland City 2
Saturday 26th September 2015
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Cost $8
Att : 1000 (approx)

In traveling around the world watching football, you can end up with more clubs than a golfer. I've always had Dundee United & Scotland as my teams that I really support and can be considered a “proper” fan of. There are many others that I have watched and teams that I like and those that I don't. So what happens when 2 teams that you like play against each other?

I like Auckland City, I do have a couple of good friends that are involved in the running of the
club which helps. I like their style of play, I love what they have achieved, especially the 3rd place at last years FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco. I love the club rooms that have no wall space left uncovered by football memorabilia (including a Dundee United scarf!). I like the friendliness of the club and how everyone pitches in. I went up for the National League Grand Final earlier this year and when we arrived at the ground on match day we found club chairman, Ivan Vuksich, paintbrush in hand, making sure that the panels in the dugout would be the same colour as the canvas surrounding it. The place was a hive of activity with volunteers and it wasn't long before I was given a broom and was sweeping out the changing rooms! There is just a great buzz around the club.

But I live in Wellington, its where I grew up and even though I never thought I'd return when I left 16 years ago I did. But I always kept an eye on the Phoenix since they were founded in 2007 and have been to a few of their games.

So I found myself on Saturday looking at two tops, an Auckland City one and a Wellington Phoenix one, trying to decide which I should wear. In the end it was the weather that helped determine it, with a cold southerly blowing in, I wore both!

The stadium was being used for the annual Home and Garden show, so to get access to the game you had to buy a ticket ($8) for this and then walk past all the stalls and avoid bumping into slow moving people who were there for the home and garden show! 

This was the second Phoenix game I have seen in pre-season and both have been in very cold conditions I really hope this isn't an omen for the coming season! 

Despite the bitterly cold weather the game had that pre-season feel to it, an entertaining first half was followed by a not so entertaining 2nd. The sort you expect when you get multiple substitutions and players who are not fully fit and playing to avoid getting injured. At least a 2-2 draw worked out for someone like me with a foot in both camps.

The shame about this was that nothing was made of the game, last year after the Club World Cup there were calls made for a match between these 2 teams (they had actually met once before in 2013 when Auckland City won 1-0) but that didn't happen due to the schedules of both teams.

This game was hardly promoted at all. During the week all the Phoenix advertising was about their family fun day happening the next day and never mentioned the game. 
The Home & Garden Show didn't promote it and while there may have been a few that would have gone for both, the majority of the 1000 crowd were there for the football.

It could have been a great day had they combined the family fun day and then have the game in the afternoon at somewhere like Newtown Park. They could have even staged a celebrity game like they used to do in the 1980's before the Wellington United - Miramar derbies.
There probably are reasons it was done the way it was of which I'm unaware but it does seem like an opportunity lost.