My Dinner With Andre

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Nz_Dave

Today saw several members of the Yellow Fever sit down with Chairman Rob Morrison and discuss the current situation the Phoenix finds itself in.

I think it’d be fair to say frustration levels from all parties are high about that situation as it stands but it was a very frank discussion and I’d say a largely productive one.

Rob was very open and honest and is happy for the discussion to be shared outside of the room. That said however I don’t speak for him or the club – so below is my take on what was said and discussed in my words and with my own opinion mixed in.

I’ll cut straight to the chase with these four points:

  • Welnix are not actively seeking to “sell the club”
  • Media reports of an offer to buy or merge or move or whatever the club are simply not true
  • Welnix and the club are focussed on finding a manager and players and all that for the coming season and that is where the bulk of efforts lies.
  • Meetings with FFA, other clubs, prospective clubs/bidders, councils, various other bodies have and will continue to take place but are primarily driven by networking, relationship building and the potential for areas of shared interest and growth not a sale.

The clubs perceived silence on the issue hasn’t helped but it’s fair to say this has been largely driven by a lack of trust in the media. And probably one that is fair enough in some regards. Australian media are not kind to the Phoenix, and they have direct access to ready-made sources of rumour and conjecture.

Despite the reasons for that silence, a vacuum of information is just begging to be filled and that is precisely what has happened and will probably continue to happen unless clear and concise statements are made from the club. While I don’t share the club’s reasons for the silence I do understand where they are coming from.

The lie of the land as I see it is this:

We have two years left and Welnix are committed to that and beyond. However, their commitment is not the only thing in play here and forces outside of their control may well mean there is a hard end in two years’ time. They don’t want that and are working hard to ensure the long term future of the club – not just survival.

That includes all the discussion of the Congress Review Working Group and potential for an independent A-League. The club remains bullish about those working in the club’s favour but isn’t putting all eggs in one basket so work continues on the infamous “metrics” and the continual improvement of the football product. The core values remain however and throwing good money after bad isn’t suddenly going to be a thing. Welnix set out to build a sustainable club and in terms of total spend remains middle of the pack and will continue to do so at this stage.

Welnix is made up of a group of owners and although the consensus is currently as above this is a fluid situation with multiple views and the group also understand the potential that two years from now the asset they hold could drop in value to zero overnight. We know that Welnix are open to approach from new investors to spread this risk and inject capital and we also already know fairly publicly that some owners want out. So while not actively seeking offers it would be irresponsible not to hear them out should they appear. An ideal situation sees more faces join the group with a stake under 50% that helps secures the long-term future of the club in Wellington and recoups some of the cost the existing group have worn. Some meetings with parties have seen this raised but no offer or proposal to the effect of a sale or merger or anything of the sort exists.

One fun caveat for those of you that are now feeling much calmer about things.

Welnix would sell the club if a huge offer was made.

That sounds scary as you first read it but it really shouldn’t be. It’s a statement that is true of every club in the league. For the right sum anything can be bought. If a buyer turned up with a blank cheque Welnix would sell up and walk away and I for one wouldn’t blame them. They are businessmen running a business and while they are happy (I doubt Rob would use the word happy) to wear the costs and losses running a professional football club for all the non cash benefits it brings the fact remains it is a business. (As a side note almost all A-league clubs run at heavy losses and we certainly aren’t anywhere the top in terms of that). This again doesn’t mean that they are looking to sell. It’s just a reality of the world.

All of the above however leaves Welnix distrustful of how a straight to the point “we aren’t selling the club” statement would be portrayed if they then do sell a small stake to a new investor, or change the ownership model, or partner for a W-League side, or do a hosting deal with a venue, or do a joint venture for academy facilities, or that blank cheque magically appears.

As part of that drive to secure the long-term future there are options and deals that may come and they don’t want to be painted into a corner of how to achieve that long-term vision. They also don’t want to be viewed as lying to the fans or the media and given the numerous stories that already appear taking “1 + 1 and get to five” it is not hard to see how they could be worried all sorts of things they would explore or entertain might be viewed as “selling” or “merging” by a person with an agenda.

Ah yes…agendas. There sure are a few of those at play. I’m not going to get into them in detail but anyone in or around football in NZ/Aust doesn’t have to look far to see the Nix acting as a whipping boy to distract from the broader issues at play in Australian football. The various talking heads always have a gripe or dig waiting up their sleeves, these are rarely based in fact or reality and thus are hard to argue against especially as many are simply conjecture or ramblings from those given a soapbox. Despite this public crusade from some quarters, behind closed doors the FFA and other clubs widely view the Phoenix as a “safe club”.

We have a solid ownership group and financial standing. We have ‘metrics’ that while no one would say are great also are not the worst. We offer a significant market with huge potential for growth. We develop Australian players as well as tap into a market for kiwi players that tends to end up benefiting the other clubs too. While other clubs face struggles including debt and non-payment of players, the Phoenix are one of only two clubs never to need financial support from the central body, our funding has always come entirely from A-League generated revenue and the underwriting of our owners.

A quote that was interesting to hear repeated by Rob today from a senior FFA employee was “We never have any trouble with you”. It particularly interested me because it was a statement that I had heard almost verbatim myself a couple of years earlier from a different senior staffer. I’m not going to name those two people but suffice to say if that is the sentiment from the top I wish we could get to a place where the Phoenix could say the same about the FFA. A huge step towards that would be the central body being willing to say publically what it says behind closed doors. Similar support from the other clubs is well-known but again that support going public would go a long way.

So even though at times it might be feeling like doom and gloom there is some logic and truth hiding away in all this mess.

As fans we have owners that want this club to continue for a very long term and to achieve every possible success in this league and will keep fighting to get there. We have a central body that although at times doles out tough love publically does hold us in high regard behind the scenes. We have the backing of the other clubs. We have the potential of an independent league that would see us on equal footing as the other club sooner rather than later. But most importantly we have a season of football ahead. Easily the most important season in the club’s history, one that success in sees all the other bullshit melt away. That is where the club are focused and where we as fans should be too.

Comments

Nz_Dave
Moderator
Dinosaur Dave
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For post sentimentaleasyirishdraughthorse
New blog post added: "My Dinner With Andre".

"He's operating a turnstile down the left flank"

Ricardo
Trialist
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That is awesome news indeed. Good to see YF and the Chairman meeting and talking. I'm excited about the talent that is coming through the Academy and it will be good to see this talent being able to play for the Phoenix in the A-league. The footballing future for the Phoenix looks far more optimistic after reading the blog news.

The JourneyFan
First Team Squad
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Great work, it's good to at last hear something from the club

While I can understand the clubs reluctance to talk to the Australian media, do they include Stuff (Fairfax) in that (ie being Australian)? It would appear so as they don't even respond to their calls. Still there are the other lot and they gave Piney an interview, so it does beg the question why they don't use him alot more, even just feeding him with news (ie sources close to etc) He's someone the fans trust, and will get the message across, but it's obvious they haven't talked to him at all since the interview, it's fairly basic media relation stuff I would have thought.

They don't need to say unequivocally that they aren't going to sell the club , what they need to say is they aren't actively trying to sell the club, but would welcome investors. Which TBF is what Rob said in his interview with Piney, they just need to re-iterate that - it's better than saying nothing at all


http://thejourneyfan.blogspot.co.nz/

New Zealand Football Media Association Website of the year 2015 & 2016

Napier Phoenix
Life and death
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Did he specifically mention the things Gallop was reported as saying? or was he saying it was media mischief and he didn't say those things?

Lonegunmen
Legend
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Cheers Dave. It cannot be made any clearer than that. Let's see if the outside media will run with it or continue to run the club down? 

I am thoroughly disappointed with the continual Aussie and local media beat ups. Sadly, although not officially condoning this crap, I feel the FFA are not doing anything to condemn such crap. 

There are more important issues for them to sort out but it appears to me that using the Nix as a distraction, seems to be the current desired strategy. 

152 games  152 games

Blew.2
Marquee
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Great work, it's good to at last hear something from the club

While I can understand the clubs reluctance to talk to the Australian media, do they include Stuff (Fairfax) in that (ie being Australian)? It would appear so as they don't even respond to their calls. Still there are the other lot and they gave Piney an interview, so it does beg the question why they don't use him alot more, even just feeding him with news (ie sources close to etc) He's someone the fans trust, and will get the message across, but it's obvious they haven't talked to him at all since the interview, it's fairly basic media relation stuff I would have thought.

They don't need to say unequivocally that they aren't going to sell the club , what they need to say is they aren't actively trying to sell the club, but would welcome investors. Which TBF is what Rob said in his interview with Piney, they just need to re-iterate that - it's better than saying nothing at all


The NZ press parroted the OZZY media with out any clarification did they not? 

  Supporter For Ever - Keep The Faith - Foundation Member - Never Lets FAX Get In The Way Of A Good Yarn

                                                      

The JourneyFan
First Team Squad
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For post img 1193

Blew.2 wrote:

Great work, it's good to at last hear something from the club

While I can understand the clubs reluctance to talk to the Australian media, do they include Stuff (Fairfax) in that (ie being Australian)? It would appear so as they don't even respond to their calls. Still there are the other lot and they gave Piney an interview, so it does beg the question why they don't use him alot more, even just feeding him with news (ie sources close to etc) He's someone the fans trust, and will get the message across, but it's obvious they haven't talked to him at all since the interview, it's fairly basic media relation stuff I would have thought.

They don't need to say unequivocally that they aren't going to sell the club , what they need to say is they aren't actively trying to sell the club, but would welcome investors. Which TBF is what Rob said in his interview with Piney, they just need to re-iterate that - it's better than saying nothing at all


The NZ press parroted the OZZY media with out any clarification did they not? 

well only because the Phoenix wouldn't talk to them so they couldn't get any clarification

http://thejourneyfan.blogspot.co.nz/

New Zealand Football Media Association Website of the year 2015 & 2016

Blew.2
Marquee
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For post nix

Blew.2 wrote:

Great work, it's good to at last hear something from the club

While I can understand the clubs reluctance to talk to the Australian media, do they include Stuff (Fairfax) in that (ie being Australian)? It would appear so as they don't even respond to their calls. Still there are the other lot and they gave Piney an interview, so it does beg the question why they don't use him alot more, even just feeding him with news (ie sources close to etc) He's someone the fans trust, and will get the message across, but it's obvious they haven't talked to him at all since the interview, it's fairly basic media relation stuff I would have thought.

They don't need to say unequivocally that they aren't going to sell the club , what they need to say is they aren't actively trying to sell the club, but would welcome investors. Which TBF is what Rob said in his interview with Piney, they just need to re-iterate that - it's better than saying nothing at all


The NZ press parroted the OZZY media with out any clarification did they not? 

well only because the Phoenix wouldn't talk to them so they couldn't get any clarification

2nd round of misinformation but I mean the first round of misinformation which prompted the Piney interview and press release, stating no one from NZ press contacted them to confirm facts. So why bother responding to a request to clarify.  The goal posts did not move just the interpretation of partial faxs got twisted to suit a headline. Normal press is it not?  (Off to work now)  

  Supporter For Ever - Keep The Faith - Foundation Member - Never Lets FAX Get In The Way Of A Good Yarn

                                                      

The JourneyFan
First Team Squad
FilledFilledFilledEmptyEmpty
For post img 1193

Blew.2 wrote:

Blew.2 wrote:

Great work, it's good to at last hear something from the club

While I can understand the clubs reluctance to talk to the Australian media, do they include Stuff (Fairfax) in that (ie being Australian)? It would appear so as they don't even respond to their calls. Still there are the other lot and they gave Piney an interview, so it does beg the question why they don't use him alot more, even just feeding him with news (ie sources close to etc) He's someone the fans trust, and will get the message across, but it's obvious they haven't talked to him at all since the interview, it's fairly basic media relation stuff I would have thought.

They don't need to say unequivocally that they aren't going to sell the club , what they need to say is they aren't actively trying to sell the club, but would welcome investors. Which TBF is what Rob said in his interview with Piney, they just need to re-iterate that - it's better than saying nothing at all


The NZ press parroted the OZZY media with out any clarification did they not? 

well only because the Phoenix wouldn't talk to them so they couldn't get any clarification

2nd round of misinformation but I mean the first round of misinformation which prompted the Piney interview and press release, stating no one from NZ press contacted them to confirm facts. So why bother responding to a request to clarify.  The goal posts did not move just the interpretation of partial faxs got twisted to suit a headline. Normal press is it not?  (Off to work now)  

No when he was talking to Piney he said it was the Australian press, Piney even re-iterated that, although don't think they see any difference between Fairfax and Stuff. The NZ press have been trying to contact him but he has been ignoring them

http://thejourneyfan.blogspot.co.nz/

New Zealand Football Media Association Website of the year 2015 & 2016