Yellow Fever fan keeps his shirt on

19:31, Dec 19 2010
Phoenix fans take their shirts off at the game on Saturday.

Former New Zealand diplomat Harry Holden, 88, may have been the oldest Yellow Fever fan at Wellington Phoenix's A-League football match on Saturday but he wasn't tempted to go shirtless for the dying minutes of the game.

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Yellow Fever tradition sees fans whip off their tops for the last 10 minutes of games wheh the Phoenix are leading – as they were in their 4-0 romp on Saturday against the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

"I leave that to people a little bit younger than me."

The Phoenix outplayed the Jets to such an extent that it took the gloss off the game, Mr Holden said.

"It wasn't as exciting as usual because the Phoenix were so much on top. But they looked by far the better team."


Mr Holden, who now lives in central Wellington, became a Chelsea supporter during the 1960s when he was New Zealand's senior trade commissioner in London.

But he is also a big Phoenix and All Whites fan.

"We went to the David Beckham game [LA Galaxy v Phoenix in 2007] and to a couple of All Whites games, and I've seen the Phoenix a couple of other times too."

A standout football highlight was going to Wembley to watch England beat Portugal in the 1966 World Cup semifinal.

England went on to win the World Cup and provide an emotional lift to the whole country, Mr Holden said.

"It would happen to Wellington if they win the league."

Mr Holden, who was also a senior trade commissioner in Washington for four years, and his son, Mark, attended the game after winning tickets in a TAB promotion.

The Dominion Post