Sigmund Offers Solutions
Ben Sigmund fears for the future of Wellington Phoenix and says it is up to chairman Rob Morrison to front up with some answers.
‘‘The biggest issue is there is no one being that honest really and I think Kiwis can see through it and they deserve to be given a little bit of an indication as to what is happening, but that is up to Rob Morrison it’s not up to me,’’ Sigmund said.
Sigmund’s comments come in the wake of a Sydney Morning
Herald report which stated that Football Federation Australia will block a proposed A$15 million (NZ$16.3m) sale of Wellington Phoenix’s licence to a Sydney-based consortium, adding further shade to the club’s already uncertain future, which at this stage is only guaranteed for a maximum two years.
There have been reports of a potential merger where games
are split between Sydney and Wellington but Sigmund said that scenario would be the beginning of the end for the Phoenix.
‘‘How could that work? Who would follow it? You bring a few games to Wellington and have a club training in Sydney. How is that our club? How is that our people? I know this is leaking around the media but let’s be honest that if Rob Morrison is really thinking about doing this, then realistically the club is seriously looking at moving offshore and gradually it will just fade away because I just can’t see how it would work.’’
The club legend, who spent all his eight-year professional football career at the Phoenix, said it is imperative that New Zealand continued to have representation in the A-League as it provided a pathway for young Kiwis players.
‘‘The thing I keep thinking about is the younger generation and the younger kids coming through, how big football is now in New Zealand and how many young kids are playing, but then you think about how upsetting it would be to see the only professional team in New Zealand either disappear or pretty much up sticks and be in Sydney,’’ he said.
Sigmund said it would not take much to turn the Phoenix around and he offered three simple solutions; sign New Zealand players, focus on the academy and increase the public awareness by engaging more with the community.
‘‘The thing we’ve got to do better is start pulling the Kiwi talent out of the national league and backing our young kids and giving them a proper pathway through the Phoenix academy.
‘‘Kiwis are screaming out to see New Zealanders do well and develop, and currently with the model we are not doing it. Yes, there are a couple but we need more and more for these young kids to have the opportunity.
‘‘The problem at the moment is the Aussies are going ‘what are you doing and who are you representing?’ but there’s just nothing, we don’t stand for anything.
‘‘It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just got to take the right people, the right structure and the right vision.’’
‘‘Kiwis are screaming out to see New Zealanders do well and develop, and currently with the model we are not doing it.’’ Ben Sigmund, right
Last season was hardly memorable for Roy Krishna and the Phoenix, and the A-League club faces an uncertain future as rumours swirl about a possible merger or sale.