Wellington Phoenix has trumped its Australian A-League rivals to win FourFourTwo magazine’s Team of the Season award, while exciting Brazilian midfielder Daniel was named Import of the Season
Wellington Phoenix has trumped its Australian A-League rivals to win FourFourTwo magazine-s Team of the Season award, while exciting Brazilian midfielder Daniel was named Import of the Season
FourFourTwo editor in chief Paul Hansford said Phoenix has captured the imagination of Wellington-s sports mad public, with crowds well above expectations. Indeed, it took just three home games for Phoenix to surpass the New Zealand Knights- aggregate crowd for the whole of last season.
“In just one season Wellington Phoenix has proved that A-League football has a healthy future in New Zealand,” he said. “Results on the field are bound to follow for this spirited club.”
The FourFourTwo Awards – announced in the April issue of FourFourTwo – also recognised Daniel, one of Phoenix-s four Brazilian signings, as the A-League-s Import of the Season, after he scored four goals in 17 games, including the club-s first ever A-League goal. A skilled midfielder, Daniel was the most fouled player in the A-League as defenders struggled to counter his attacking flair.
Despite finishing eighth in its inaugural season in the A-League, the Phoenix-s attractive play had them in the hunt for the Finals right up to the final rounds. Led by All White stars Tim Brown, Vaughan Coveny, Glen Moss and Shane Smeltz, who scored nine goals and finished third in voting for the prestigious Johnny Warren Medal, the Phoenix played an exciting brand of football that won over the crowds.
Hansford said: “To get such a competitive squad together in such a short space of time is an achievement and a credit to owner Terry Serepisos and head coach Ricki Herbert. But more crucially the Phoenix has created a real connection with the Wellington community, and, in the Yellow Fever, has perhaps the most passionate supporter base in the A-League.”
The ambition of the club was shown when it hosted David Beckham and the LA Galaxy, in a match that attracted a crowd of 31,853 – a record for any football match in New Zealand. Phoenix also set the record for a competitive club football match in New Zealand, with 18,345 turning up for an A-League match against Adelaide United.