So farewell then Ben Sigmund (well at the end of the season anyway). The Press Release that compared him to Steven Gerrard was a bit over the top, but there is no doubt that he was massively liked throughout the country. He was the guy who always clapped the fans at half time and full time.
As he player he made the most of his talents. Always charging around, never giving up; best summed up by that charge into the corner for the All Whites against Bahrain that led to the decisive World Cup qualifying corner.
What really made Sigmund though was his charisma off the park, and how people could not help but love the guy. And nothing summed that up better than March 13, 2011.
That was the day of the Fill The Basin charity day. Less than three weeks after the fatal earthquake in Christchurch Stephen Fleming had organised a fundraising event at the Basin Reserve so that New Zealand could show its support.
Given the rushed nature of its organisation it was a stunning success, and quite the collection of anyone famous. Fleming, Shane Warne en route to LA, Sir Paddles, Martin and Russell Crowe, Tana, Richie, Conrad Smith, Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Mark Hadlow and politicians knowing their place were all in attendance. It was a wonderful collection of people at an emotional time.
The Phoenix were there too. They were riding on a high of their best ever A-League season, and the All Whites in South Africa the previous year, and their job was to carry the collection buckets around the ground.
There were local heroes Tim Brown and Leo Bertos, and Chris Greenacre with his arm in a cast.
And then there was Ben Sigmund.
For three hours he ran around and around the Basin Reserve carrying his bucket(s). Around and around, and up and down the bank. And throughout the exercise he had people running after him, wanting to donate. At one stage the Pied Piper like following train would have numbered around 40 people, and not all children either.
Because he was Ben Sigmund and he was treating the afternoon raising money for his home town like he was playing for the Phoenix or the All Whites. Although, you could tell this was emotional for him he never stopped smiling. If anyone captured the emotion and positivity of that day it was Sigmund.
He ended up going through four or five buckets, such was his energy levels and popularity. And he had the red cheeks to prove it.
In a day full of stardom and emotion Ben Sigmund owned his own little corner of it. And that is such a good way of remembering him.