Gareth Morgan offers to take over NZ Football

November 25th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gareth Morgan writes:

In my view key to progress of elite football in New Zealand is to integrate the sport from amateur elite to the sole professional team and on to the national team. This in essence is what Australia’s FFA has achieved and the game in that country has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. By comparison New Zealand has languished. To achieve this requires a lift in expertise both in the governance of the code and coaching expertise right down to the most junior elite levels.

To this end I’m prepared to invest $5m in NZ Football so long as the government invests twice that amount, with the focus being on achieving the integration and thereby ensuring our young players develop within an environment that reflects the type of football our most senior teams practice and we produce coaches steeped in that methodology. We need to jettison the almost inbred tendency from grassroots level to play kick-and-chase football that comes about because of our inability to develop players that are good enough at tap-and-go, possession-based football. This is the cultural change we are undertaking at The Phoenix and was behind the Mexican sarcasm about converted rugby players.

A requirement of my proposal is that the current leadership of NZ Football resign and a new board (still a blend of people from within the game and others who know how to build businesses and execute strategy) be appointed with this mandate clearly defined.

I presume Gareth thinks that the successful record of strategy and governance he has brought to the Phoenix should be extended to the NZ Football team.

In the last season the Phoenix played 27 games. They won seven, drew six and lost 14. This placed them 10th out of 10.

I of course expect the Government to hand over ten million dollars tomorrow to implement Gareth’s plan.

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 football training field – punches and tantrums thrown, nasty episodes of bullying and grown men in tears.

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

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

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! 🙂

Is it game over?

November 16th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post report:

Terry Serepisos is facing fresh legal action, with the Inland Revenue Department seeking to liquidate five of his companies – including the one which owns the Wellington Phoenix – over $3.58 million in unpaid taxes.

The largest sum – more than $1.5m – is owed by Century City Football, owner of the Phoenix football team, for PAYE tax deductions, GST and KiwiSaver contributions.

I hope Serepisos survives, but if he does I suspect he will not be hosting The Apprentice again anytime soon.

In July I was in Hong Kong and surprised to see very large ads in the local paper there for his new apartment block. My reaction was that sales back home can’t be going too well, if you are needing to advertise in Hong Kong.

A Wellington City Council spokesman, Richard MacLean, said the council was “very concerned” over the future of the Phoenix but was unlikely to contribute ratepayers’ money. “We are not in the business of owning a football club.”


I’d love the team to survive also, but it is not the role of council to fund sports teams – sports infrastructure is another matter though.

How long until it all falls over?

September 28th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

ACC is poised to take legal action to liquidate the Wellington Phoenix football club, saying it is owed more than $260,000 in unpaid player levies.

The club, owned by Terry Serepisos, had repeatedly “promised” to pay the levies and had failed to honour agreed payment plans, the Accident Compensation Corporation confirmed to The Dominion Post.

ACC plans to go to court today to liquidate Century City Football, whose sole director is Mr Serepisos.

He said last night that he was “shocked” by the legal threat. The matter would not go to court because “we have made arrangements to pay” today, he said.

Terry, Terry, Terry. I don’t think they want an arrangement to pay. I think they want a cheque.

ACC acting chief executive Keith McLea confirmed the legal action earlier yesterday. “Century City Football owes more than $260,000 in unpaid levies to ACC, some of it dating back several years.

“They have promised to pay many times but not done so. We have even agreed payment plans with them but these have not been honoured.

I can’t recall ACC ever liquidating someone before. IRD do it heaps. Maybe ACC do also, but are lower profile about it.

Mr Serepisos said he and his lawyer had agreed on a plan with ACC on Friday to pay the levies and “they have not even advised me of this [the move to liquidate].”

The amount of levies was “in dispute”, he said, and he would fight any legal action.

The claim the amount of levies is in dispute is a red herring. I actually worked in credit control for Wellington Newspapers once. You get very good at knowing the difference between those with a genuine dispute and those disputing as an excuse not to pay on time.

Those with a genuine dispute always agree to pay the undisputed part of the account, and only with-hold the (often quite small) aspect under dispute.

Those who can not or will not pay, refuse to pay anything due to the “dispute”. They are the ones you cut off further credit to, or refer to the debt collector/court.

Hopefully for the sake of the Phoenix, Terry Serepisos can actually pay, so the team is not liquidated.

A great game of football

November 29th, 2008 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

Thanks to the very good people at Westpac, I got to watch the Phoenix vs Melbourne football match at the Stadium last night.

Westpac have the best positioned corporate box in the ground. I guess when the stadium is named after your company, you get some perks! So it was a great view of the game. Mind you the hardcore fans down in the zone gave the game its spirit – they made enough noise for 30,000.

Melbourne scored the first goal around halfway through the first half. But literally just seconds later, the Phoenix scored to equalise. And a goal in the second half made it 2-1.

But the score didn’t reflect what a great game it had been. Both teams had periods where they dominated. There was some great passing and lots of action around the goals. It was one of those great matches to watch.