It was 21 years......

It’s happening – yes it’s hard to believe, but the All White’s are playing a game at home! Yes for the first time since a dour 0-0 draw against South Africa in May 2014, it’s happening, coach Anthony Hudson is getting to show his team on home soil for the first time (he’s only been in the job two years!). Yes New Zealand play New Caledonia at QBE Stadium in Auckland on Saturday 12th November (KO 3pm) in a World Cup Qualifying match.

Now you’d think this would be the sort of game I’d be at like a shot. It’s international football, it’s a world cup qualifier and it’s New Zealand, and I was even in Auckland this week......But I’m not going.

Why? Well it’s not because of cost or getting time off work, if I was into click bait I would be saying the reason is much more SHOCKING than that!

When it was announced that the All White’s would be playing at home, I had to consult one of my lists to remember when the last home game was and while I was doing that I consulted my list (yes I have a lot of lists – I am a football anorak!) that was of All White’s games that I have been to. That’s when I discovered the fact I could really be a jinx and made the decision that I wouldn’t go to the New Caledonia game.

What I discovered was that I haven’t seen the All White’s win live since they beat Denmark U23 2-1 at Newtown Park on 23rd January 1995 (a game that was probably more significant for being refereed by Linda Black, making it the first ever Men's FIFA international controlled by a Woman). That’s 21 years!!!!  21 years without seeing the All White’s win live. Now this isn’t the sort of stat that Sky TV in the UK put out, when the say something like Manchester United haven’t won at Peterborough in 75 years, but neglect to point out they have only played twice during that time. No in the last 21 years I have seen the All White’s play quite a few times.

The program from the last time I saw the All Whites win
Since that day when goals to a 20 year old insurance clerk called Simon Elliott and a 27 year old manager called Mark Elrick (yes it was that long ago that players had real jobs and they would get listed in the program!) gave us a 2-1 win against kids of Denmark. I have seen the All White’s play live in Auckland, Tallinn, Ostrowiec Swietokryzski, Paris, Lyon, London, Geneva, Edinburgh, Wrexham & Wellington. I have seen them play the likes of Brazil, France, Poland, Colombia, Scotland & Japan. I have been in crowds of 30-40 000 and have been one of 7 All White’s fans in a crowd of 10 000 Polish fans.

5 of the 7 All White fans at Poland v NZ in 2003 Photo Kevin Clarke
I have seen them unluckily lose to Estonia because of a goalkeeping howler, almost beat Scotland, get torn apart by France & Brazil, play Australia off the park but lose to a 90th minute goal and come back from 2-0 down to get a draw with a Wales side that included Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy.

In all I have seen them play 15 times in 8 different countries in the last 21 years, which given the paucity of games that they play (an average of 7 a year) and that many of them are in tournament format and I was spending a lot more time watching my first country, Scotland, it’s not that bad of a record. What is bad is the fact they haven’t won any of the games I have been to. I’m starting to think it is me. 
So I have made the conscious decision not to go to the New Caledonia game in the hope that the All White’s will win. Anthony Hudson can thank me after the game!

So if you are in Auckland on Saturday get along to QBE Stadium. If you aren’t in Auckland the game will be on Sky TV at 3pm

Wales & New Zealand line up for the National Anthems, Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, 2007

The All White's games I have seen since I saw them win in 1995

Drew 0-0 with Chile in Auckland
 Lost 0-1 to South Korea in Auckland
Lost 2-3 to Estonia in Tallinn
Lost 0-2 to Poland in Ostrowiec Swietokryzski 
Drew 1-1 with Scotland in Edinburgh
Confederations Cup
Lost 0-3 to Japan in Paris
Lost 1-3 to Colombia in Lyon
Lost 0-5 to France in Paris 
Lost 0-1 to Australia at Craven Cottage (Fulham), London
Lost  0-4 to Brazil in Geneva, Switzerland
Drew 2-2 with Wales at Wrexham, Wales
Drew 1-1 with Honduras in Auckland 
Lost 0-2 to Paraguay in Wellington 
Lost 2-3 to Jamaica in Auckland
Lost  2-4 to Mexico in Wellington

Kiwi fans outside the ticket "office" at the A-le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia