Stop Out's Scott Henderson celebrates his goal in their 3-2 win over Napier City Rovers The JourneyFan

So it's the last day of 2017 and it's that time of year where everyone gets reflective and self indulgent and looks back at the year and that's what I'm doing now in my annual (well I did it last year so it's annual now!) end of year review.


It's the same as last year, the NZ Football Media Association Awards where I was honoured to win Website of the Year for the second year in a row and I was also runner up in the Writer of the Year category, something that I was quite stunned by. 

For website of the year the judges said 

....the Journey Fan website again tops them all, with its mix of unique, well-crafted content, clever ideas, photography and semi-obsessive fandom. In its own way, it’s one of the closest things New Zealand has to that iconic British football fan bible `When Saturday Comes”.

Being compared to When Saturday Comes is some hefty and humbling praise indeed. I figure I must be doing something right, my total page views are not far of 100k and my average views per post has doubled to 600 over the last year, So thanks to everyone that reads this site.

Somehow I was also named runner up in the Writer of the Year category. The winner of this Category was Michael Burgess who is a sports journalist for the NZ Herald and the Herald on Sunday and has won this award for the last five years in a row. So to come runner up to him was pretty outstanding and a huge surprise. For this category this is what judge Terry Maddaford said.

Runner up: Dave Webster’s was another informative portfolio covering a wide range of topics. Especially enjoyed “Island Time” –football and more Waiheke style and “Play-off Pandemonium” – a wrap of a trip to the outer reaches and a report on a game most fans would not have bothered with.”


It was a record year for me, I usually get to around 60 or so games a year, this year though I managed 96 and that's not counting the Saturday morning junior games to watch my nine year old nephew playing for Onslow.

I managed to get a few road trips in visiting Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Auckland, Melbourne and Te Awamutu. Enough distance that if I drove in a straight line from Wellington I'd end up in New Delhi

In total I saw 402 goals, an average of 4 a game, which is a pretty good return, although it may also say something about the capability of New Zealand defences! 

So here are my top games of the year (click on the links for the more detailed reports)

Team Wellington won 3-2 on pens 
Team Wellington's Scott Basalaj saves a penalty The JourneyFan

Twitter user @thekiwicanary tweeted that he wouldn't have been surprised if an alien space ship landed during this game to watch it! It was one of the most incredible games of football I've ever seen (and I've seen a few). It was a very hard report to write as I didn't feel I could really do it justice.

The only downside was Sky TV, unable to film it due to a resource consent issue, the game was streamed online by the Yellow Fever's Patrick Barnes which was great. After the game he posted the video on Youtube only to receive very serious legal threats from Sky TV unless he took it down (which he did). An extremely poor show from Sky TV, meaning that only the 3-400 at the game and the 200 or so that watched the live stream will be the only ones that ever get to see the highest scoring National League football match. 

Chatham Cup Round 3
Napier's Oliver Coren "tackles" Wairarapa's Alex Risddale The JourneyFan
The previous 10 meetings of these two clubs had produced 58 goals and this one didn't disappoint. It was a classic cup tie and well worth the 600km round trip 

My first Wellington Phoenix away game and only the second time in 15 games they had won against Melbourne Victory 

World Cup Qualifier
Peru fans (with one Kiwi) at the NZ v PEru World Cup Qualifier The JourneyFan

It was a good year for me and NZ games, I got to see them beat Fiji 2-0 which was the first time in 22 years I had seen NZ win live! (and I had seen them play 15 times in 8 different countries in that time). For this one I got to sit on the sideline with my camera, even better I was just in front of the Peru fans, who were incredible and as a bonus New Zealand played reasonably well.


Western Suburbs players with the Central League trophy The JourneyFan

It has to be Western Suburbs who won the Central League and got to the quarter finals of the Chatham Cup, with a team that had an average age of 18. They played some of the most attractive football seen in Wellington for many years and were a joy to watch. They won the Central League with two weeks to spare and have some of the most exciting talent in New Zealand, keep an eye out for names such as Elijah Just, Callum McCowatt, Owen Parker-Price, Harry Edge, Ihaia Delany and Dalton Wilkins amongst others. 

Here's a few things I'd like to see happen in 2018
  • NZF see sense and give the All Whites coaching job to Ramon Tribulitex
  • Wellington Phoenix turn around their horror season so far, sneak into 6th place and make it all the way to the A-League final
  • NZF realise they can find a better and cheaper TV provider than Sky
  • Both NZ men's and women's teams get some home friendlies
  • Dundee United to win promotion back to the Scottish Premier League
As for my personal goals with the website, I'd like to double the number of page views to 200k, I also am looking at moving it to a better platform and making it more of a website rather than a blog site. I did some interviews this year (thanks to Sarah Gregorius, Emma Evans, Mikela Hunt & Emily Morison) and these have been quite popular so I'm looking at doing more over the next year.

I've still got to visit Kapiti Coast United, Waikane, Eastbourne, Porirua City & Naenae so will hopefully get to them in 2018.

So thanks to everyone that has helped, supported or just read the site this year it has been great. Have a Happy New Year and here's to a successful 2018 football year

NZ's Winston Reid against Peru The JourneyFan