Morgan and the Phoenix

January 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Paul Thompson at The Press writes:

 I have seen some horrible things on a training field – punches and tantrums thrown, nasty episodes of bullying and grown men in tears.

But most chilling of all was the photograph of taking part in a Wellington Phoenix practice last week.

Morgan is a brilliant economist and generous philanthropist and deserves praise for investing cash in .

But he doesn’t belong anywhere near the training pitch. Whatever he is trying to achieve isn’t working. His meddling is damaging the team he part owns.

Ownership gives him and his Welnix partners the right to do whatever they like with their club. But that doesn’t mean that those are the right things to do.

The Phoenix are in full-blown crisis. The coach has been emasculated by owners who have issued a directive on how the Phoenix should play despite having no knowledge of the game. The players are confused and fearful for their future. The tactics are all over the place.

The team is now bottom of the league and, worse, is displaying a level of incompetence that strongly suggests that is where it belongs.

Harsh, but not unfair. The best tea owners are silent ones!

You have to feel sorry for Herbert who, despite having a good coaching record in the A-League, has been rendered powerless to impose tactics that will get results.

He is compliant with the owners’ wishes because he clearly has little option but to publicly support their whims. He is clearly held in such low regard that, despite being the football expert, he is not running the show.

This season is looming as a train wreck. There appears to be a willingness to sacrifice short-term results – otherwise known as winning – for an ephemeral, long-term pipe dream.

But winning matters to the fans and it certainly matters to the players as well, who look shell-shocked to find themselves in such a parlous position.

It is time to allow Herbert to get on with the job he is paid to do and should be accountable for – to put out a winning side and then to build on that over time.

There’s an old saying – winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything! :-)

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37 Responses to “Morgan and the Phoenix”

  1. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    Actually, it’s time for the ultra-cautious, defensive and conservative Herbert to get out of the job.
    Fresh blood in the coaching department is what the Phoenix needs.

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  2. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    ‘The best tea owners are silent ones!’ Mr Fernando of Dilmah isn’t too silent.

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  3. AJP (13 comments) says:

    What a load of sh..!
    The owners quite rightly demand some attractive style of play as this will fill the stadium and the coffers.
    The problem the Phoenix have is that they DO NOT have the right players and the right coach to fulfill the owners vision.
    Under Herberts watch they let players like Rojas go and kept has beens like Sigmund and Lochhead.
    Says it all really.
    It wont be long before Herbert will be replaced by someone who can implement the owners vision.

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  4. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to assume the owners are the problem.

    All Whites selection for World Cup 2010 notwithstanding, New Zealand has a tradition of sucking balls when it comes to Soccer.

    It’s a game we’re collectively and individually not cut out for, like Cricket….

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  5. Belinda (126 comments) says:

    It’s a game we’re collectively and individually not cut out for, like Cricket…. and tennis…..

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  6. tvb (3,947 comments) says:

    Owners can meddle as much as they can. But if they are not professional coaches then their meddling may be counterproductive. This is not rocket science and I am sure Gareth Morgan understands this as well as anyone. I will suspend criticism of mr m

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  7. dime (8,789 comments) says:

    “But most chilling of all was the photograph of Gareth Morgan taking part in a Wellington Phoenix practice last week.” LMAO

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  8. MT_Tinman (2,795 comments) says:

    AJP (6) Says:
    January 15th, 2013 at 10:17 am
    What a load of sh..!
    The owners quite rightly demand some attractive style of play as this will fill the stadium and the coffers.

    Nope!

    Supporters go to see their team win.

    Winning well is only better than winning ugly when winning becomes a habit.

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  9. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    Who cares?
    Its that round ball poofs game where the players spend the bulk of the time writhing in agony on the ground to see if they can sucker the ref into a pentaly.

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  10. Viking2 (10,744 comments) says:

    HA THOUGHT THE SAME WHEN I SAW THE PHOTO.

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  11. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    Morgan is a brilliant economist….ppfffttttt

    How is his kiwisaver investment co doing?

    Bollocks

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  12. POTUS (5 comments) says:

    @Lofty

    Agree.

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  13. POTUS (5 comments) says:

    … further.

    Economists (whether brilliant or otherwise) do not necessarily make great fund managers. As the saying goes… God created economists to make astrologists look good.

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  14. AJP (13 comments) says:

    (MT_Tinman

    Nope! Supporters go to see their team win.Winning well is only better than winning ugly when winning becomes a habit.)

    This may be right for your core suporter base but not for the general public. It’s the full stadium what counts, hence money.
    This is the only way to expand your team and get new and better players.
    Winning ugly and playing unattractive fottball will not get the everyday person into the stadium, attractive football will.

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  15. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    Like so many Morgan is totally confused about the difference between governance and management. As with many NZ organisations in all sectors those who are elected or appointed or hired to govern cant help themselves from getting into management.
    Governors set the policy the strategy and direction and hire the CEO ( or in this case the Coach) to implement that policy strategy and direction.\

    If the person hired cant or wont then the Governors take them out and shoot them and hire someone who can.

    And in the case of PLCs the shareholders should similarly take the directors out and shoot them if they cant/wont find the right CEO to manage the business.

    It aint rocket science but in NZ it seems too hard for most to get it.

    And thats why we have so many under performing companies both PLCs and private.

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  16. MT_Tinman (2,795 comments) says:

    AJP, again you are wrong.

    Winning teams attract supporters who in turn attract supporters who in turn attract …. I’m sure you get the point.

    I agree it is easier to attract people to a team (in any sport) playing the game attractively and winning than a team playing a dour, unattractive style but still winning but first the team needs to win.

    Only a true fan (and we’re not discussing those) is happy to walk away annoyed and angry because his team blew yet another game but looked pretty doing it.

    Not for nothing is there the old come-back “Look in the scorebook”.

    The casual “fan” wants to tell his mates “I was there when we beat the guns that time” or “I was there when we won the competition” not “I was there when we got done by the lowest team in the sport’s history – but by hell we played prettily”.

    If he can’t or is bloody unlikely to he not only won’t go to the game he also won’t buy the merchandise or support the sponsor’s product.

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  17. Dotcom (1,386 comments) says:

    Ahhh, come on. Let Gareth play with his toys.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    @ lofty Morgan’s kiwisaver investment is doing great….for him. After all he sold it to us (the taxpayer owners of Kiwibank). For his customers…..not so much.

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  19. annie (533 comments) says:

    Come, on, it’s only soccer. What does it matter what they do?

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  20. annie (533 comments) says:

    Damn, where’s the ‘edit’ function? I was also going to point out that all players are marginally brain-damaged after a few years of heading the ball, not surprising given the anterior-posterior force from heading, a classic cause of axonal stretch injury.

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  21. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    I imagine that Morgan is wanting to protect his investment, though investing in soccer clubs has never been a great idea. It’s a bit like investing in racehorses.

    I certainly don’t think it’s a good look for Morgan to be on the training ground. Imagine if Ricki Herbert turned up at the boardroom telling Morgan how to spend his money! If he has concerns about the team’s performance, he ought to consider hiring new players and a new coach.

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  22. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    Gareth (rent a quote) Morgan is the guy who was on the cover of the Listener 4 years ago (I think) telling us to be ready to have our houses halve in value… so that prediction didnt work out so great…

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  23. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Whatever it was, it cant possibly have been worse than Russell Crowe reading the “Book of Feuds” to his Rabbitohs players before a game..? :lol:

    It’s amazing what stupid games will do to people’s heads.

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  24. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    He couldn’t look more ridiculous than the previous owner of the Phoenix. It’s nice that he wants his boys to play attractively, but um, that’s not the way this team rolls. Sports teams develop styles that are notoriously hard to change. Owners typically exert influence by changing the coach, but even then ingrained styles can persist.

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  25. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    winning with style > winning > losing with style > losing

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  26. Paulus (2,299 comments) says:

    I doubt his “brilliant economist” tag

    He flogged his Kiwisaver Management account for $50m to Kiwibank (conned) becuase his management of Kiwisaver was the worst recorded results available.

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  27. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Owners typically exert influence by changing the coach

    Or hiring new players. But Morgan has indicated he doesn’t want to do either! He wants to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. He’s dreaming.

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  28. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    I went to the Phoenix game on Sunday and really enjoyed it. The live atmosphere, the chanting of the yellow fever, buying a Phoenix scarf, all good fun. The main issues were the ticket prices, luckily my youngest got in free and of course the Wellington weather which as always was terrible.
    Regarding the performance of the team they are definitely struggling with the new style of play. Although the defenders are trying to play it out from the back and keep the ball, the team is hampered by a lack of creative mid fielders who can lay on a telling pass for what on paper seems a reasonably good forward line.
    Jeremy Brockie and his striking partner (bald Belgian fellow) did not have many chances at all in front of goal. I very much doubt that Herbert is the man to implement the new style of attractive football based on possession and attack. We may need a new manager who is able to recruit the players he needs in the off season.
    But I really like the Phoenix and enjoyed the chance to watch professional football live. I hope they do well.

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  29. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    I quite like watching a good defensive team. The All Whites at the World Cup were good, and there is nothing wrong with the Phoenix battling away.
    It’s cheaper to watch the Phoenix than the Hurricanes (although Wellington rugby is offering much cheaper memberships now) and I’ve started to prefer the former as a recipient of my discretionary spending. The kids enjoy the football more than the rugby (too complicated).

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  30. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    AJP at 11.16 said: “Winning ugly and playing unattractive fottball will not get the everyday person into the stadium, attractive football”

    Oh yes it will! Winning is all that counts! “Ugly” or not.

    In support of that contention i cite the record of Leeds United FC during their Don Revie managed years in UK’s First Division.

    Capacity crowds – every game.

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  31. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    How did that superfluous ‘attractive football” get in there? It should read:

    “AJP at 11.16 said: “Winning ugly and playing unattractive fottball will not get the everyday person into the stadium””

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  32. CrazyIvan (75 comments) says:

    Having been a season ticket holder since inception I’ve seen a lot of the Phoenix and can see what Gareth’s trying to do. Doing it in the middle of a season, when your recruitment was around a completely different style of play has lead to some of the problems now. It’s like telling the Crusaders to forget about forward play because the fans want to see the wingers score tries and then wonder why Richie and Kieran Read have trouble adapting (or even worse, trying to get England to play expansive rugby).

    Another problem is that the quality of the league has gone up and we haven’t kept up. What got us results last season doesn’t work as well this year. Other clubs signed Heskey, Ono and del Piero. We signed a journeyman Belgian and a couple of Kiwis.

    Winning while playing unattractive football worked with the crowds in the past, including getting 12,000-13,000 to season matches and 32,000 people to a semi-final in 2010. Playing winning and attractive football is a challenge that a lot of teams try but fail at.

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  33. southtop (257 comments) says:

    Suspect we will see nz football under Herbert run similar to current nz cricket regime …… No Nelsen. Although not a “soccer” devotee (more Greg Louganis than in the pool) I suspected that Nelsen was the All White’s coach in South Africa and this appears to be showing now?

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  34. Andrew McMillan (44 comments) says:

    Morgan is a brilliant economist and generous philanthropist…

    The only thing Morgan is brilliant at is sales. Spurred on by his egomania, Morgan has sold books, his motorcycle stories, a dog of a Kiwisaver scheme to NZ “Mums and Dads”, and a dog of a Kiwisaver scheme to Kiwibank.

    But unlike his Kiwisaver scheme, it’s blatantly obvious (to everyone including “Mums and Dads”) when his soccer team isn’t going any good, and it’s incredibly easy to stop supporting them. In the Phoenix, Morgan has the challenge of his life, he needs to get “Mums and Dads” on seats and no doubt at some stage he’ll want to fork the dog of a team off for a profit.

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  35. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    suspected that Nelsen was the All White’s coach in South Africa and this appears to be showing now?

    Well, Nelsen doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for Herbert, given that he hasn’t been in touch with Herbert. But NZS is being silly waiting for Nelsen to say whether he’s available. He is 35 and has indicated he’s on his last legs. NZS should be looking to the future and thanking Nelsen for his contribution. Instead, they’re waiting and hoping. It aint going to happen.

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  36. Andrew McMillan (44 comments) says:

    The best tea[m] owners are silent ones!

    The thing about generalisations like that David is that they can be shot out of the water with one example. And as an example I’d offer the NZ Breakers. The Breakers’ owners are very involved with the team and a lot of credit for the beakers success lies with it’s owners.

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  37. Andrew McMillan (44 comments) says:

    On the Breakers, they also have a “no dick heads” rule. I wonder who’d be first to leave if the Phoenix implemented that one…

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