The Diary - February 2016

An irreverent look back at NZ Football in the last month

February 1st
Wellington Phoenix sign Birmingham City Reserve striker, Alex Jones, on loan until the end of the season.
Alex Jones enjoying his holiday in New Zealand
Ryan Nelsen has scored a new job as a player agent, representing American Matt Miazga in his recent $7.7 million move from New York Red Bulls to Chelsea.

February 2nd
Big day for two Football Ferns, Betsy Haslett signs with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, while Rebekah Stott is on the winning team as Melbourne City beat Sydney 4-1 in the Australian W-League.

February 4th
Auckland City continue their dominance of the Super City Derby with a 5-1 trashing of rivals Waitakere United, their 9th win in a row in derby games

Northern Football women's coach, Paul Greig, is joining USWL team, the New York based, Sky Blues FC as an assistant coach.

February 5th
NZF announce that their build up for the Oceania Nations Cup will be a 2 week training camp in Australia, as they have been unable to secure any games during the March International window. 
Coach Anthony Hudson says “I'll be lying if I sat here and said I was satisfied”

Ernie Merrick says the Wellington Phoenix aren't winning games because they are too nice.

Sydney's Lord Mayor Cleaver Moore and pal of Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, get's in on the Save the Nix campaign, writing a supporting letter to FFA CEO David Gallop.

February 6th
No 10 goal feast this time when the Weenix play Hawke's Bay United, just the 2 both to Sam Mason-Smith of Hawke's Bay United.

February 7th
Team Wellington have an easy 3-0 win over 10 man Southern United, who are still on course to equal the lowest ever number of goals scored in a National League season of 6.

In a masterpiece of scheduling WaiBOP United v Canterbury United is on at the same time as the A-League clash between the Phoenix and Perth Glory (both on Sky TV as well!). 
The ASB game being the more eventful one with WaiBOP fighting back to 2 all before a goal of the season contender from Brooke Messenger in the 3rd minute of added on time gives Canterbury a 3-2 win.While an insipid Phoenix lose 1-0 to Perth Glory. No one seems to mention (or even see) the “prestigious” Long Distance Derby Cup that was on the line.

February 8th
The Futsal Whites open their Oceania Championship campaign in Fiji with a 5-0 win over Vanuatu.

February 9th
Tommy Smith Getting married
 All White Tommy Smith announces that the personal reasons that he missed the Oman game for were that he was proposing to his girlfriend. He also says the wedding is scheduled for June 2017 and he's checked it doesn't clash with any All White's fixtures. 

He obviously doesn't rate NZ's chances of qualifying for the Confederation Cup to be held in Russia in June 2017!


Football Fern, Katie Bowen will be looking out her ruby red boots as she signs for FC Kansas City

The Futsal Whites win their second game 3-2 over Tahiti

February 10th
Alex Jones loan transfer to the Phoenix falls through after NZ Football fail to complete the paperwork on time. NZF hang out Competitions Manager Daniel Farrow, who says it was a combination of a person leaving the organisation, Auckland Anniversary weekend, lack of Internet access and technical difficulties. I suppose it's good to know NZF have finally moved on from the fax machine as their main means of communicating!
They are appealing to FIFA for an exemption.

The Phoenix instead sign Hawke's Bay United's Hamish Watson as injury cover.

The Futsal Whites lose 4-1 to Solomon Islands, who include Auckland City's Micha Lea'alafa in their ranks

February 11th
Waitakere United's Jake Butler 200 games
Waitakere United's Jake Butler makes his 200th appearance for the club, but it is Team Wellington's Ben Harris who steals the show with a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for the capital team.

February 12th
Wellington Phoenix's Andrew Blake joins Hawke's Bay United for the rest of the season as part of the Hamish Watson deal.

No surprises from Football Ferns coach, Tony Reddings, as he names his squad for the Algarve Cup in March.

Futsal Whites beat Fiji 3-1

February 13th
Southern United increase their number of goals scored for the season by 50% but its still not enough to beat the Weenix, who are helped by a James McGarry (who ironically is from Dunedin) hat-trick in a 4-3 win that sees Southern United confirmed as the wooden spooners for the season. 
Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund manages 45 minutes as he comes back from injury.

The Futsal Whites claim 2nd place at the Oceania Championship with a 4-1 win over New Caledonia. It's not enough to qualify for the World Cup in Colombia though, Solomon Islands will be Oceania's representatives.

February 14th
Auckland City's chance to secure their 7th minor premiership is thwarted by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch which sees their game against Canterbury United postponed.

The top 4 of the ASB Premiership is confirmed as Auckland City, Canterbury United, Team Wellington & Hawke's Bay United after Hawke's Bay United beat WaiBOP United 2-0 in Napier. Just the final positions to be decided now.

Wellington Phoenix stun everyone with a 5-2 thrashing of league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers, Blake Powell finally finds his scoring boots getting 4.

February 16th
FIFA won't allow Wellington Phoenix's loan deal for Alex Jones to proceed, saying that while they acknowledge the individual circumstances at NZF which led to the delay, they have ruled to protect the integrity of their global deadlines for the transfers of players.

Phoenix CEO David Dome tells Australia's Daily football show that negotiations on the licence with the FFA are progressing slowly but they are progressing and he is heartened by the way things are going.

Some good news for NZF, The 2015 U20 World Cup has been named as a finalist in the Event excellence category of the NZ Sports & Recreation awards

February 17th
Ex Auckland City goalkeeper and part-time model, Tamati Williams signs with Dutch club RKC Waalwijk

Birmingham City boss, Gary Rowett, labels the Alex Jones transfer a slap in the face for the player. NZF CEO Andy Martin is refusing to front up on the issue.

February 18th
WaiBOP's Holly Nixon is appointed as NZF's women's football development manager

Auckland City win their 7th minor premiership with a 4-0 defeat of Southern United.

New Zealand Football fail to win Administrator's of the year at the Halberg Awards

February 19th
10 more years – The Wellington Phoenix get their A-League licence extension - 10 years, well 4 with 2x3 year reviews to ensure they are meeting FFA's required metrics

Wellingtonian & All White Kosta Barbarouses is linked with a move back to the Phoenix, although the rumoured wage of $750k is believed to be fantasy

NZF show some foresight and reschedule the 1st ASB Premiership Semi Final, set for Thursday 3rd March at the sandpit to Kiwitea Street on Saturday 5th March

February 20th
Ernie Merrick declares that the “...the season's over for us.” after the Phoenix go down 3-2 away to Newcastle Jets. Hamish Watson has an eventual day scoring twice before getting himself sent off, receiving a 2nd yellow card for kicking the ball away.

The Weenix don't fare any better losing 4-2 to WaiBOP United in Mt Maunganui. A game that is significant for being WaiBOP's final ever home game.

February 21st
In the battle for 2nd place, which brings a home semi final and potential qualification for the O-League, Hawke's Bay United gain a vital 2-0 away win over Team Wellington. 

The game is significant as a little publicised rule change means that means goal difference is no longer used as the first separation of teams level on points, head to head results is which effectively means Hawke's Bay United will finish in 2nd place

The ASB Premiership makes a further claim to be a real league, when fans at the Team Wellington game put up a banner calling for NZF CEO Andy Martin to resign, but are quickly asked to take it down by Team Wellington officials.

Waitakere United take a 2 goal lead but are unable to hang on to it and Canterbury United manage to get a draw in the televised game.

NZF president Deryck Shaw, vice-president Michael Anderson & Executive Committee member Paul Cochrane are off to Zurich for a knees-up, sorry FIFA congress, which will elect a new president to replace banned Sepp Blatter.

All White Storm Roux breaks his leg in a freak accident while playing for Central Coast Mariners against Melbourne City and will not be available for the All Whites in the Oceania Nations Cup

February 22nd
NZF president Deryck Shaw gives CEO Andy Martin a vote of confidence, although he hints at the problems being deeper when he says the board would like to meet with the people that have some issues with NZF to understand their thoughts a bit further!

February 24th
Dura - 200 Appearances & 2 more years
 Another player marking 200 appearances this time the Phoenix's Andrew Durante, signs a new 2 year deal with the Phoenix.

Canterbury United take the lead and hold it until the 60th minute before Auckland City stage a comeback and win 3-1 in the round 12 catch up game

February 26th
The Phoenix start without any recognised strikers and beat Melbourne City 2-1 in a wind affected game, maybe they should try that more often!

Team Wellington hammer the Weenix 6-1 in the curtain-raiser, which also determine's the Semi Final make up for the ASB Premiership which will be Auckland City v Canterbury United & Hawke's Bay United v Team Wellington.

A bald headed Swiss man in charge of FIFA

A bald headed Swiss man is replaced as the president of FIFA, by a bald headed Swiss man! 

Gianni Infantino is elected as new FIFA President, after gaining 115 votes (including NZ's) of 207 in the 2nd round of voting. He promises to give associations $5million US every 4 years and a 40 team World Cup.

February 27th
New Zealand's path to the World Cup could change as new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino says he will look “very closely” at changing it. Hmmm sure a bald headed Swiss man in charge of FIFA said something similar a few years ago as well......

February 28th
Last minute drama in both the early ASB Premiership games, Southern United twice go ahead before Gary Ogilvie gets Canterbury United a winner in the 4th minute of added on time.

In Napier, Hawke's Bay United's Paul Ifill uses his experience to win and score a last minute penalty that beat's Waitakere United 2-1. Waitakere United say the game sums up their season.

In WaiBOP United's last ever game, it was Auckland City that took the plaudits in a 4-1 win, their 27th unbeaten game in the ASB Premiership. They didn't really start playing until Daewoo Kim was sent off when the scores were at 1-1. It's only the 2nd time in NZ National League history that a team has gone the regular season unbeaten, the last team to do it was....Auckland City in 2012

February 29th
More good news for the Phoenix as Roy Krishna signs on for 2 more years

Roy Krishna - 2 more years