Phoenix owner tries to explain 'pathetic' barb

Last updated 17:15 24/01/2013
Phoenix owner Gareth Morgan gets involved at training.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
NOT PRETTY: Phoenix owner Gareth Morgan gets involved at training.

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Gareth Morgan has hit back at reports he labelled fans of his newly acquired Wellington Phoenix team "pathetic", saying instead only those who chose to believe "100 per cent crap" reports he invaded the pitch, were pathetic.

In his blog, Gareth's World, the A-League club's owner said media reports he was interfering with the team's practices were "far-fetched" and had no basis in fact.

Morgan has admitted in the past that his football knowledge is limited, but in a pre-recorded interview with Radio Sport, lashed out at fans who only wanted "instant gratification".

The interview was recorded before Saturday's club record 7-1 drubbing by Sydney FC but only aired this morning.

The Phoenix have struggled with this shift, bizarrely implemented mid-season, and are coming last in the table.

But Morgan said they would not be reverting back to their former style, which was based on solid defence and getting balls into the box from the flanks, for the sake of results. 

Fans would have to put up with "short-term pain".

"All some people do is look at the league tables and that's all there is to the game for them. Well, they're pathetic really.

"Before we said let's change the style a bit, I thought the fan base was probably 80-20 in favour of a style change because we were never going to win and be persistent winners of the A-League playing the way we played. That's all been forgotten now," Morgan said.

"People expect instant gratification or gain with no pain. It's just pathetic really. I can't think of any activity where you change like that and there's not a short-term cost as you go through the changes," he told Radio Sport.

Hitting back at media reports however, Morgan wrote in his blog today that he had been working on "how to enhance our performance analysis capability", and was attending training to assess filming capacity.

"We have a medium term strategy set by the Board and we have a coaching and technical department and senior players who are responsible for the week to week strategy and performances - the two are quite separable over the short term.

"To suggest they're not is far-fetched and has no basis in fact," he said.

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"Those that believe owners should write the cheques and stay upstairs while everyone else gets on and loses money year after year, clearly don't know where money comes from." 

In the Radio Sport interview, Morgan said there would not be "wholesale changes".

There would be natural attrition, as there is at the end of every season, but he expressed confidence in the squad and said wholesale changes would be "rubbish".

While the basis of professional sport would appear, to most anyway, to be about winning, Morgan said he could live without playoffs football this season.

"To me it is all about the bigger picture because we have to make this team sustainable and more successful than just making the playoffs."

- Stuff

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