Budgie on the Ball

Season of promise ends with whimper

05:00am 09 Apr 2014

DAVE BURGESS

OPINION: It started slowly, built to a premature crescendo, and petered out to nothing.

These are my key moments of the Wellington Phoenix's ultimately disappointing season.

■ First win of the season at home to Sydney FC, 22 December 2013

After a start to the season, which showed plenty of promise but few points, the 1-0 win at the Cake Tin ignited the campaign as the Nix went on a wonderful run of wins and great performances.

For a time they were the form team, and looked capable of making the grand final.

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Phoenix handshake snub no big deal

05:00am 13 Mar 2014

DAVE BURGESS

OPINION: So Carlos Hernandez failed to show the sort of team spirit required at Wellington Phoenix when he didn't shake hands with his replacement as he was subbed in the disappointing 1-1 draw with Perth Glory.

He then bypassed the Phoenix players and officials warming the pine to sit dejectedly alone at the far end of the bench.

Phoenix maestro Ernie Merrick has criticised Hernandez for his actions. Fair enough, he is the one trying to build a winning environment at the club.

I take a different view.

Hernandez' actions showed just how much playing for the Phoenix means to him.

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Yellow Fever needs position change

05:00am 26 Feb 2014

DAVE BURGESS

OPINION: Gareth Morgan and the other Phoenix co-owners want a $45-$48 million boutique stadium on the Petone Rec.

It has plenty of hoops to jump through which will take time.

Hutt City Council has to put up a $25m contribution. If it agreed in principle it would be included as part of its draft annual plan deliberations. Hutt City ratepayers then get the chance to have their say during the submission process.

It would then be voted on by councillors ready for the annual plan to take effect on July 1.

If it makes it that far, opponents of the proposal may well take legal action which could see it bogged down in the Environment Court.

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Rumours about Melbourne Heart

05:00am 21 Feb 2014

DAVE BURGESS

OPINION: A couple of good things came out of Wellington Phoenix’s 5-0 ugly loss at the hands of Melbourne Heart last weekend – well good for the A-League in general.

Reliable sources tell me Heart, now majority owned by Manchester City, are in the process of signing a world class player from Spanish powerhouse Barcelona as their marquee man for next season.

Fitting the bill, and nearing the end of his career, is 34-year-old Spanish World Cup winning midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

He has played more than 700 games in Barcelona’s colours winning scores of trophies including multiple La Liga titles and Champions League triumphs.

The international media is already saying Xavi’s days are numbered and speculating on who will replace him at Barcelona.

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What about Newtown for a stadium?

05:00am 19 Feb 2014

DAVE BURGESS

OPINION: So plans for a $44 to $48 million, 12,000-seater, purpose-built football stadium at the Petone Rec have been unveiled.

Lower Hutt ratepayers are being asked to front up with $25m. The Nix owners, including Gareth Morgan, and other corporate sponsors will make up the slack. I want a cracking football ground as much as the next Wellington Phoenix fan but Petone is definitely not the first choice location.

Wellington city councillor Paul Eagle has today questioned whether all avenues have been exhausted in looking for a site in the Capital. He wants to see a boutique stadium built at Newtown Park. Phoenix at Newtown Park

My understanding is Newtown Park was ruled out because it was on the Town Belt.The council administers the Town Belt so it can be used by Wellingtonians for recreational purposes. That is what the original deed stipulated.

Watching football falls into that category, so upgrading the ground has no implications in that regard because football is already played there. In fact, the All Whites have used the ground.

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