Their wings have not been clipped…

Last week I encouraged Wellingtonians to get out and support the Phoenix as we attempt to #SaveTheNix Plenty of people turned up to the stadium to support the team, 13,654 in fact! That’s over double what the Phoenix have had at their last few home games! So: THANK YOU! It was a fantastic evening of football […]

The Wellington Phoenix are trying to avoid bursting into flames.

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn, by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. In Wellington the Phoenix are the football team that are currently in a bit of potential trouble. According to some sources, a phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion… one […]

New Zealand v. Vanuatu

1982: every month was Movember for the All Whites

Ahhh, 1982 – when every month was Movember for the All Whites, and our bewhiskered team of British ex-pats and hard-grafting locals (and Wynton Rufer) took on the likes of Brazil at that year’s Football World Cup.

It’s been a long time since the All White’s graced the stage of the World Cup Finals, but, amazingly enough, over the next few months there’s an (outside) chance of the lads going ‘all the way’ again.

Since Australia has joined the Asia Confederation, the Oceania group is now pretty much there for the taking by the Kiwi boys. Barring disasters like the 2006 campaign’s loss to the Solomon Islands, New Zealand is most likely to go through and face the 5th-ranked Asian qualifier (again, a pleasant change from previous qualifying rounds, where the Oceania qualifier would have to battle past the 5th-ranked South American nation), in a home-and-away playoff for a spot in the 2010 World Cup Finals.

Given the current Asian rankings, that’s most likely to be one of Saudi Arabia, Japan, Bahrain or Uzbekistan – any one of whom the New Zealander’s would fancy upsetting on a good day.

But before this can happen, the All Whites need to nail down the Oceania qualifying pool, and, to that end, you can help by heading down the Stadium this Wednesday evening and cheering on the team to a win over Vanuatu – a win that would guarantee our spot as top team in the Pacific.

New Zealand v. Vanuatu
Wednesday, November 21st
Westpac Stadium
Gates open at 4.30 pm.
Kick off is at 6pm.
Adults – $27
Child (15yrs and under)- $15
Family (2 adults and 2 children) – $64
Concession (Senior Citizens 60+) -$15
Students with valid ID – $15

Get tickets online at Ticketek

Phoenix in ‘not crap’ shock

Phoenix logo

Wellington Phoenix 3 Sydney FC 0

The Phoenix made a lot of friends on Sunday afternoon with a confident display against an out of sorts Sydney side. Rarely troubled at the back, showing good enterprise and pace going forward, and superbly marshalled by the experienced Ross Aloisi in central midfield, the Phoenix looked better than both the Rufer-era Kingz and the woeful Knights put together.

The official attendance was just over 6,000 (which is sensational for a pre-season match) and the organisers sensibly stuck us all on one side of the ground to help harness the atmosphere. The official site has yet to be updated with the result and Stuff don’t have a match report so I’ll tell you that there were two goals for Shane Smeltz plus an own goal from an unknown Sydney player.

The Brazilian number 4 Cleberson is going to be a definite crowd favourite – he’s a big lump of a bloke and he totally bossed the central defence, winning everything in the air – and compatriot Cortes looked pretty lively down the right wing.

Phoenix match tickets go on sale on August 13 and I’d recommend getting into them early, particularly as more than half the games are kid-friendly Sunday afternoon affairs and it won’t stay this cold forever.

Phoenix: Warm-up Match Moved Again

Phoenix logoThe first Wellington Phoenix home pre-season game has been moved for the second time. Originally announced for the Basin Reserve, at some point it was switched to Newtown Park and now, according to the official site it has been moved to Westpac Stadium due to “concerns that Newtown Park would not have the capacity to cope with the big crowd expected.”

Sunday at 2.00pm is kick-off time and the tickets are only $10 (and free for under 16s). Opposition Sydney FC are one of the A-League glamour sides (former Liverpool and England star Robbie Fowler was over there discussing terms for a move last week) and should give the Phoenix a test.

I’m gutted the match has been moved from the Basin as I wanted to tell the story of the last time there was a major football match there back in 1994 (maybe). The All Whites were playing an exhibition match against top German outfit Werder Bremen and legend Wynton Rufer was going to play a half for each side. As is so often the case, far more people turned up than expected and most of us were still queuing outside when the game kicked off. Anyway, a young lady in one of the flats above the trophy shop opposite decided to ease our pain a little by lifting her t-shirt over her head and giving us a flash. But, I’ll have to tell that story some other time.

If you are a Google Calendar user you can click on the button below to subscribe to my Wellington Phoenix fixtures calendar, letting you know when and where the lads will be playing each weekend so you can either get your tickets or set your MySky.

Wellington Phoenix FC

Gah. If the stories we’re hearing tonight are true, then we are … underwhelmed.

Seriously, Black Star Wellington was the bomb.

And even Wellington City or Wellington FC were better options.

But … “Phoenix“?

Ah well.

Update. Well, it’s official, and, having slept on it, I suppose it’s something we can live with. At least it’s not the Wellington Bumblebees.

What’s in a name #1

So, perhaps the most drawn out sports decision ever to be made by an Australasian sporting body has finally been confirmed, and a Wellington bid has won the right field a team in Australia’s A-League soccer competition.

Now all they need is a name (oh, and some players, and a home ground, but let’s not mention that).

So, what do we think. What’s a good name for our local professional football team. The guys over at the A-League discussion forums have come up with some suggestions…

  • Wellington Wizards
  • Wellington Wonders
  • Wellington Wanderers

…but, you know, that whole sports team alliteration thing is a bit passé. There’s some support for just continuing the Knights (noooo!), and, likewise, for a good old fashioned appendage like United, FC, or City. Today’s DomPost had these suggestions…

  • Wellington Thunder
  • Wellington Fever
  • Wellington Hornets
  • Wellington Blast

…of which Hornets doesn’t ring too bad, although, do we have hornets in Wellington? Surely the Wellington Killer Bees would be more appropriate? And despite the enthusiasm of the supporters on the back page of the DomPost today, I don’t think ‘Fever’ is the best idea in the world – the rich potential for headline puns when things go horribly wrong is just too much to consider.

Any other thoughts?

World Cup Alter Ego: Take Two

I have happy balls!Well, our initial short-list of potential under-achieving teams to support through the World Cup has proved somewhat too accurate: site favourite Holland weren’t in such Ruud health; personal pick Spain went down the drain like rain on the plain; and the poor old Mexicans wave goodbye to their cup hopes for another four years.

Of the initial shortlist, only Portugal remain. And of the other quarter-finalists who meet any of our criteria (under-achievers, exciting players, erratic form), you can’t consider the Ukraine, who are really too boring by half, as are one-time winner England, who might have come away with our sympathy vote if it wasn’t for the fact they’re playing such dour football.

Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Germany are all multiple winners, so that rules them out, leaving the other one-time winner France as our outside pick. They might be the go, actually, as on closer analysis, they certainly meet the criteria: only the one Cup championship in 1998, but then had the form-reversal of the tournament’s history when they couldn’t even score a goal in defending their title at the 2002 tournament. And plenty of flash players: Henry, Zizou, Saha, Vieira…

So, who’s it to be? Portugal, France…?

Wellington’s World Cup alter-ego

oh those wacky germans and their laughing balls!There’s been a bit of discussion up here at Wellingtonista Towers as to just who we should be supporting in the World Cup. We need a team with whom we Wellingtonians can identify with – soccer’s equivalent of the Hurricanes: a team that blows hot and cold; a team full of star names, but who inevitably fall at the final hurdle; a team that are a joy to watch, but typically lose to more dour, joyless sides.

To that extent, we came up with a short-list of four: Holland, Spain, Portugal and Mexico. All these teams have been frustrating their fans for years, making the latter stages on relatively regular occasions, only to lose to more methodical plodders like Germany or Italy, or falling to the perenially brilliant Brazilians.

At the moment, we’re veering towards Spain, partly because they’re sure to be a good source of sporting ups and downs, but mostly because they’re our Earth Sandwich partner, and if that doesn’t count for something, what does? Any votes from anyone else?

And, tell you what, there’s some ‘interesting’ hits for “World Cup” on Google image search. Keep your eyes on the ball, son!