Wellington fans deserve better

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When the independent A-League was announced, Wellington Phoenix fans thought that they could finally catch a break.

They were wrong.

Over the past four years, every home game was a nervous watch for the Phoenix, but not just because of the football.

Every game there was a worry about attendance figures. If attendances were not good enough they thought the side would be kicked out of the league.

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Thankfully, the independent A-league arrived and the Nix secured their future but life has not gotten any easier for Phoenix fans.

Firstly, there was the issue around how Mark Rudan left the club and why Phoenix players followed him to Western United. The club was left gutted and without any of the previous season’s stars.

Given it was the Phoenix’s first successful season in a long time, it was particularly upsetting for fans to lose the bulk of that squad.

Then the season started and the Nix showed signs of promise, signs of life, but in the five games they have played so far, errors have ruined – and potentially lost – three of them.

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In round one Wellington should have been awarded a penalty but VAR and the referees forgot the rules.

In round three Perth’s Gregory Wüthrich should have received a red card in the first half but only copped a yellow.

In round four VAR hit a new low as Melbourne City received a penalty for a handball – when the ball hit Louis Fenton’s chest.

In the same game against City, both the referee and VAR were having their debut, because why not give them to Wellington? They are only New Zealanders.

Things can be tiring away from the pitch too. If you are a football fan, then Twitter is the place to go to discuss it, but if you are a Wellington fan you are constantly justifying the existence of your club on the platform, with the #NixOut brigade still going strong.

Wellington has committed the terrible crime of not being Australian, so they do not deserve to be in the league. Right?

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Never mind the fact players like Jacob Tratt, Max Burgess, Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas, Filip Kurto, and Dylan Fox all owe their A-League careers to Wellington.

Add Rudan to that list because after all, he would not have gotten the Western United job without his success at Wellington.

The Nix is developing young Australians like Walter Scott, Reno Piscopo, Liam McGing, and Cameron Devlin.

Not to mention how they took a risk and gave a young, exciting Australian manager a chance this season when they hired Ufuk Talay. No other A-League club did that this season.

Even the rare occasions when things do go right for the Phoenix, no one recognises or notices because the Nix have to fight the media narrative.

When Wellington was 1-0 up against the Victory last week, the entire narrative was how things just were not going right for the Melbourne side.

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Wellington were bottom of the league and had gotten unlucky in all of their games from poor referee decisions but the narrative was all about how Victory were having a tough time.

Whenever home games in Wellington are played, there is constant complaining on Twitter about how biased and bad the Kiwi commentators are.

It should not be this hard to support a team.

Nix fans are willing to accept their team may never be the best. They are willing to support a team that is not the greatest, but Nix fans will not accept being second class citizens in a league that they have been in for over a decade.

Too often Phoenix fans state that they are no longer watching the rest of the A-League. After all, what is the point when everyone thinks your team should not exist?

Wellington fans deserve better.

Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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Dan Moskovitz
Dan Moskovitz
The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.

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