Yellow Fever needs position change

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 13:44 26/02/2014

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.

So while that process unfurls, why not take action to improve the atmosphere at Westpac Stadium?

Let's start by relocating the Yellow Fever Zone from its current spot near the players tunnel to the half way line.

Yellow Fever is responsible for most of the noise at the Cake Tin, something traded on by the club itself which has talks up the rowdy atmosphere in publicity campaigns.

Moving the Fever to half way would have them surrounded by fans on both sides, making it easier for them to join in the singing and chanting - behaviour that doesn't come naturally to many Kiwis.

As it stands, the Fever are so distanced from many supporters that it makes it difficult for their passion to flow around the stadium.

It would require an innovative change by stadium management to the way tickets are priced and sold. So be innovative.

While I'm at it, let's rebrand the existing kids fan area (I think one exists) into a Junior Fever Zone, maybe for selected games.

I'm sure youngsters would love to be chanting ''Ernie Merrick's, Junior Army'' or something similar.

It'll take a bit of work to make it succeed. They may initially require an adult or two to provide a bit of guidance, but I'm sure that young leaders would soon emerge.

Maybe these ideas won't fly but to do nothing to improve the Cake Tin experience on match day is not really an option. It's a cop out.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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