By Paul Montague
If the Australian football clock is inexorably ticking on the Phoenix being an A-League club (and it certainly seems so), we should be wondering WHY ON EARTH THEY REALLY WANTED US THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. I for one couldn’t really tell you- probably some misguided wish from the FFA about having wanted to ‘expand’ the reach of the beautiful game, but in truth more likely to have been because of the potential and associated marketing possibilities that went with it.
Right at this minute, the question that we should ask the FFA is: Exactly on what moral, logical and ethical grounds could this club be wound up? Can you think of one purely legal reason? In fact, the site’s Twitter account nailed it.
Still can’t think of a precedent of a professional sports side being booted out of a competition with breaking any rules / going bankrupt
— Sports Freak (@Sportsfreakconz) October 26, 2015
The carping from the FFA about not enough fans going to Nix games in Australia is pretty contentious. I don’t exactly see big gates anywhere when sides like Central Coast and Newcastle are playing away. Wait for the attendance for the Phoenix’s match away to Melbourne Victory next Monday- it’ll be more than respectable, I’m sure. Big gates only really happen at derby matches- hardly Wellington’s fault that there’s no other team to have a proper derby match against.
A-League commentator Simon Hill of Fox Sports Australia, writing very much in favour of the Phoenix staying on, alluded to an FFA with very short and selective memories- of how Australian football improved and prospered after their admission around ten years ago to the Asian Confederation, leaving Oceania in the process. And now the FFA are more or less putting the boot into Oceania by way of their Wellington witch hunt and in doing so, casting aside any sentiments of ‘love thy neighbour’ well and truly.
The amount of coverage the saga has had so far is kind of incredible; coming as it does in the build up to one of this country’s biggest Rugby encounters of all-time. It highlights how the whole entity and survival of a club is really a bit more important than just a one-off match for a trophy (albeit a damn big one).
The love for the Nix around Australasia right now seems to be growing practically by the hour, it’s just brilliant. There is nothing like a bit of injustice to unite people in a common cause. Aside from this, David Gallop has just handed the men in black and yellow the greatest motivation possible to play like absolute demons from now on.
People power will hopefully win the day and make the FFA look like a pack of uncharitable, mercenary-driven wretches. Probably no less than they deserve when all said and done.
I have a strong feeling that something akin to a crusade of Yellow Fever-ites will descend en masse upon Etihad Stadium in Melbourne next Monday night. Hard to imagine that David Gallop would want to be anywhere near that place at that particular time.