Sunday afternoon I went over to Kiwitea Street on the city side of the Bridge to watch the first leg of the OFC Champions League football final between Auckland City FC and Team Wellington.
The really good things were: The close proximity of the seating/spectators to the pitch, the 2pm kick-off time (I’m becoming very much over night-time sports kick-offs- is this a dangerous descent into old fart territory?), and the playing surface, which was excellent as far as I could tell- not that I bothered to ask any of the players, however.
The game itself was dominated in the form of possession and on the scoreboard by Auckland. The final scoreline of 3-0 was probably a fair enough reflection of the way things unfolded. In fact the Wellington supporter directly behind me said as much.
To the not-so-crash-hot: The attendance for one- for this, the showpiece club event of the Oceania Confederation, in other words, this region’s version of the UEFA Champions League Final, there were no more than around 700 to watch (not including dogs…or stray cats, or any other likely form of menagerie). No excuses, the sun was out, it was pretty idyllic for a good portion. Perhaps the Masters Games took a few away, but as my offsider Craig Pascoe rightly pointed out, a forecast with a bit of possible precipitation in it is enough to drive a great many Aucklanders into the shopping malls for the day (have also been guilty of this in the past).
And even though it was a bit of a feel-good throwback to the good old days of Mt Wellington, WDU, Christchurch United, Dunedin City et al in the old National League, the only way to pay right at the gate and at the service window to the canteen was by cash only. Eftpos was available, but only if you could manage the traipse up a big flight of steps up the outside into the main clubrooms and then all the way back down again for your match ticket or hot dog (which were, it has to be said, an exceptional bargain at only $2, and they tasted great). What there was to stop people meant to be paying by Eftpos from sneaking out the back and around the side of the ground for free is anyone’s guess. And how about those who are physically incapable of the climb?
Ideally, a match like this needs a better arrangement for fans to pay by, doesn’t it? We’ll just have to accept for now that this isn’t the way it is, due to a myriad of reasons.
But overall, a very enjoyable afternoon out. And Wellingtonians, get your butts along to Dave Farrington Park at 1pm this coming Sunday to support your team. They sure as heck are going to need it, being 0-3 down as they are.
Comments very welcome- I’ve been well and truly ignored these past few months, where is the love? (Paul) firstname.lastname@example.org