The football fraternity has paid tribute to one of the men responsible for the rise of the Wellington Phoenix.
A short tribute was held at David Farrington Park in Miramar on Saturday to remember and recall the rich life of Ian Wells, 76, who died in January after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's three years ago.
The ceremony was held before the kick-off in Team Wellington's ASB Premiership semi-final second leg tie with Hawke's Bay United. Team Wellington rose to the occasion to win 1-0 and progress to the final.
A plaque outlining Mr Wells' many achievements was unveiled and will become a permanent feature at the ground.
Mr Wells' son, Jason, was also presented with a certificate recognising his father's status as foundation life member of the Phoenix.
Mr Wells, along with Team Wellington director John Dow, conceived the idea to take over the failed Auckland Knights A-league franchise in 2007 and bring it to Wellington.
He also spent time as chairman of Cricket Wellington, head of New Zealand Tennis, as well as general manager of Wellington Newspapers, which owned The Dominion Post.
His great football love was Wellington club side Miramar Rangers, of which he was chairman and a life member.
Mr Dow, who helped put yesterday's tribute together, said it was an emotional moment for Mr Wells' family along with everyone else at the ground, especially when the football anthem You'll Never Walk Alone was performed by entertainer Ainslie Allen.
"Some of the players were in tears. Everyone felt the emotion."
Team Wellington followed it up win an inspired performance and would no doubt carry Mr Wells' spirit with them into next weekend's final, Mr Dow said.
- The Dominion Post
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