Phoenix dulling the fire

Last updated 05:00 06/11/2011

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The Phoenix's uninspired and ugly Friday night performance simply isn't good enough.

Like it or not, Gareth Morgan and his Welnix consortium partners need to understand the Phoenix are the game's flagship team when the All Whites are on hiatus.

They have a responsibility to ensure their team inspires young, impressionable players and provokes emotion from general sports fans.

The only thing the team is doing is rapidly losing any hard-fought credibility the sport generated some 18 months ago.

It is one thing to discount "knee-jerk responses" and look to future youth development. But the reality is that without a quick-fix even the faithful few paying to come through the gates will eventually lose patience.

It's not just about consecutive home losses, it's the manner and style with which they play. So far the season has been plagued by ill-discipline, atrocious defending, poor finishing and feeble decision-making.

Having a plan to identify young talent and develop them to a level where they can match the refinement of Brisbane Roar is undoubtedly the right long-term approach.

But there needs to be serious consideration about how that is structured.

Youth academies have been around for an age at professional clubs. Few are successful. What defines the good ones is coaching personnel, their underpinning beliefs around the principles of play and how they motivate and engage players with potential.

Only time will tell whether the Phoenix's new owners actually get that.

The other major problem is that it's all well and good to develop young talent but it's another trying to keep it.

Danny Hay is a former All White

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