Home' The Wellingtonian : January 31st 2013 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JANUARY 31, 2013
A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME
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ANZAC DAY, APRIL 25, 7:40PM
WESTPAC STADIUM, WELLINGTON
Morgan needs to take a step back
Happier times: Gareth Morgan and his wife, Jo, enjoy themselves in the Yellow Fever zone at Wellington stadium.
Photo: FAIRFAX NZ
Good on Phoenix football
captain Andrew Durante
for standing up the other
day and taking a shot at one of the
club s owners, the increasingly
voluble Gareth Morgan.
Durante, an amiable Aussie
who knows when enough is
enough, said: To be honest, I ve
been through so much Gareth-talk
over the last month that I have
just completely blocked it out. I ve
been in a pretty tough place with
all these comments and having to
answer for owners.
Some of Durante s Phoenix
team-mates, including Paul Ifill,
Leo Bertos and Jeremy Brockie,
have also publicly taken issue
with the outspoken Morgan.
It can t be easy.
They are professional football
players, paid by Morgan.
What s more, to judge by some
of his recent utterings, he s not in
the calmest space at the moment,
so there s no telling what he might
do with recalcitrant players.
I asked Morgan last year if he
knew much about football.
Not really, he said.
I m more of a rugby man, actu-
Given his stated lack of football
knowledge, it s a pity he has
involved himself in the coaching
side of the Phoenix.
Imagine how Manchester
United s Alex Ferguson would
react if American owner Malcolm
Glazer started making public
pronouncements about how the
team s playing style needed to
The same with Arsene Wenger
at Arsenal if Stain Krienke, the
majority shareholder, turned up
at training and started waving his
arms around like a coach.
I m amazed Phoenix coach Ricki
Herbert has stayed so quiet lately.
He must have been speaking
through gritted teeth when asked
about Morgan s pronouncements.
Morgan has paid a lot of money
for part-ownership of the Phoenix
and helped rescue the club from
its financial woes after the Terry
Serepisos era ended unsatisfac-
As he said: I don t usually
embark on a business proposition
where the goal is to break even.
So I can understand him being
concerned about small crowds and
His solution: We ll play total
football , like the Dutch did in the
Quite apart from the fact that
the Phoenix in 2013 are not as
talented a group as Johan Cruyff s
1970s Dutch side, Morgan is miss-
ing the point.
The best way to satisfy fans is
to win. Fans prefer their team to
win 1-0 than lose 5-3.
The Phoenix have not won a
game for more than a month.
That s why attendance at games is
The greatest game in New Zea-
land football history was in 2009,
when the All Whites beat Bahrain
1-0 in Wellington to secure a spot
in the World Cup finals.
No-one left the stadium that
night complaining that Herbert
had stacked his defence or that
only one goal had been scored.
If Morgan is not happy with
Herbert s coaching, he should get
a new coach.
What he shouldn t do is appoint
himself as pseudo assistant coach
and start talking about stuff he
knows nothing about.
Morgan s zaniness went further
He labelled the Yellow Fever
fans pathetic . These are the
fans, loyal and fanatical, who turn
up in all weather to support the
Phoenix! Next he ll be banning
them from games.
There s also talk about moving
Phoenix headquarters to New-
town Park, which has seating for
1000 and no floodlights.
So the answer isn t to start win-
ning. It s to take the team to a
low-budget stadium. What will
Morgan has done some wonder-
ful things over the past decade.
His heart is generally in the
Let s put these past few months
down to mid-life madness and
hope he comes to his senses and
Get ready to
join in the
By AMY JACKMAN
The New Zealand Sevens team will be
looking for their third straight title at this
weekend s Wellington Sevens tournament at
New Zealand have won the tournament six
times, including in 2011 and 2012.
They sit on top of this year s Sevens World
Series table, 14 points clear of France and
Games at the sold-out tournament start on
Friday, February 1, at 1pm with France v
Free water will be handed out to those
heading to the game along the waterfront.
Food stalls will be set up in Courtenay Place
on Saturday night for the street party.
New Zealand games on Friday: v England,
3.12pm; v Spain, 6.08pm; v United States,
The rugby is on Sky Sport 1, Friday and
Saturday, 12.30pm till 10.30pm;
One Sport, Friday, 1pm till 10.30pm, with
news breaks, and Saturday, noon till
10.30pm, with news breaks.
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