Rise Of The Phoenix: A New Zealand Story

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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Welcome to Wellington & New Zealand, home of my brand new FM story! You might remember (or not...) my old series of San Marino Challenge and http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2012-stories/87029-not-another-san-marino-story.html well I still like me some good, unconventional club & country challenge, what can I say New Zealand is the new San Marino!

As my FM persona, former football great Alberto Rossini (a tribute to Dino Dini's Player Manager, for those who remember) I'll take charge as deus ex machina of whole New Zealand football, controlling Wellington Phoenix (both of them... see below) and coordinating all the international set-up, from senior team, to U23 to U20.





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Wellington Phoenix operate in a quite unique scenario in world football: they play in the Australian A-League but belong to OFC, which prevents them from being eligible for Asian continental competitions. At the same time, they do not enter O-League (the Oceania Champions League) which makes life a bit miserable for them (and for my save). Starting this year though the Phoenix are entering their B team into the ASB Premiership (the New Zealand league, made by editing master Claassen), which is certainly good news for my development plans for both club and country - and for the freshness of my save too.


If you remember my old stories, you might know I'm not the most gifted story-teller, nor I have particular eye for graphics (lets face it my graphics and layout are ****!), though I try to make up for this with detailed development strategies and focus on players and NT growth.

Here are the key parts of Alberto Rossini's agenda:

- Establish WPFC as the top club of both A-League and ASB Premiership
- Consolidate New Zealand National Team status as undisputed king of OFC
- Be competitive in major international tournaments (Confederations Cup, Olympic Games and hopefully World Cup)
- Become a top class football academy as a club (improving reputation, youth facilities and junior coaching), and produce the best possible NZ prospects
- Use club(s) and NT to promote/develop the country's young talent
- Import young foreigners who can potentially join the NT after obtaining citizenship (5 years)
- Secretly hope that the B team can actually qualify for O-League (and later Club World Cup) via ASB Premiership


That's it for the introduction to this story, hopefully this thread will generate some interest!


Thanks a lot to editing virtuoso Claassen for his New Zealand and OFC database - which includes NZ leagues and cups, O-League correct format and U20 Oceania Cup. This save wouldn't be possible without his work, check out his world pack if you haven't already
Sports Interactive Community




 
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Aug 16, 2010
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Looking forward to this!

You going to be using all the same tactics as your SM saves? (E.g hiring coaches from the big teams as your NZ coaches, I remember getting an SM player through the Real Madrid academy doing this. He was terrible but it was still really nice to see)

When will we get to see the New Zealand version of Paolone? XD
 

kandersson

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Looking forward to this!

You going to be using all the same tactics as your SM saves? (E.g hiring coaches from the big teams as your NZ coaches, I remember getting an SM player through the Real Madrid academy doing this. He was terrible but it was still really nice to see)

When will we get to see the New Zealand version of Paolone? XD
hahaha the legend of Paolone will live forever :)

you know I'll use every possible strategy just to have that single chance of Real Madrid or Barcelona producing ONE legendary NZ regen... international staff is much harder to recruit this year (at least it is for NZ!), so for now I have to settle for unemployed former Kiwi stars... this could change though!

I was very excited that a few decent NZ regens were generated for the MLS Superdraft every year (noticed this when playing my MLS save) but this has apparently been axed with patch 15.3. A goal of mine is to get as many high reputation parent clubs as possible to pass them that vital NZ knowledge...

I'm loving this save, it's fun to coordinate all the various teams at both club and international level. The floor of NZ is obviously MUCH higher than SM, but the ceiling might also be quite lower for a few reasons. My job is to stretch that ceiling as much as I can, and make sure I reach that...

thanks everyone for reading and commenting!
 

kandersson

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The Club

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Founded in 2007 from the ashes of the New Zealand Knights (formerly known as Football Kingz), Wellington Phoenix have not much of a history at this point, and not even a single trophy to boast. This needs to change soon...


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Predicted to finish 10th out of 10 clubs in the A-League, the Nix are traditionally regarded as one of the weakest teams in the league, and arguably the one with less financial power. They have a more than respectable stadium in the 34,500 seater Wellington Regional Stadium, and have three feeder clubs, all from New Zealand, including ASB Premiership powerhouse Team Wellington (and believe it or not, they look quite decent!). While club facilities are generally average or below, WPFC boast an extensive Youth Recruitment and are renowned as one of the finest football academies in Oceania, serving as a platform for developing local young players. Which is exactly what we're here for...


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Wellington boast a pretty good squad for A-League standard, including a few NZ internationals like Glenn Moss, Andrew Durante and Michael Boxall. Kiwi star Michael McGlinchey is probably our best player, together with Aussie international striker Nathan Burns. Former Celtic hitman Scott McDonald and Brazilian ex-wonderkid Kerlon are the biggest names of our sober transfer campaign, all free agents of course (curiously I signed veteran striker Joel Griffiths, who also just signed for Phoenix in real life). We have a good group of attackers and strikers, so we'll try to take full advantage of that.

Finances are a big concern at the moment, we seem to lose money every day despite low wages and no evident expenditures. I'll consider selling pretty much anyone if the right offer comes in, we absolutely need to find ways to make some profit. As part of my philosophies, I've asked the board to implement a strong youth policy - yep, the famous Cantera Policy will take over at some point. As a result I managed to upgrade Junior Coaching to adequate, which is not ideal yet but it's a start.


Next update: getting to know the National Team

 
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kandersson

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The National Team

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After arch-rivals Australia moved to the AFC in recent years, New Zealand has become the most powerful national team in Oceania, and usually has little to no problems dominating OFC competitions and reaching World Cup Playoffs or at least the Confederations Cup... except for last edition of the OFC Nations Cup in 2012, when the All Whites finished with a shocking 3rd place behind Tahiti (!) and New Caledonia (!!!). So bringing the OFC title back in New Zealand is imperative...


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Starting at 101st in World Ranking we already climbed a few positions after a couple of summer friendlies, and we're now ranked 94th. New Zealand's core of first choice players looks pretty solid, with a few of them playing at a very respectable level in Europe and most of the others based in the A-League (usually at Wellington Phoenix). Squad depth is obviously an issue, as the pool of talent is pretty limited at the moment. If we can avoid injuries to our key players - and right now we CAN'T - we should be just fine.

Key Players


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West Ham centre back Winston Reid is New Zealand captain and easily our best player; he's good Premier League material and we're lucky to have him at the heart of the defence. He'll form an excellent partnership with Ipswich Town's Tommy Smith, another quality defender.


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Marco Rojas and Ryan Thomas are talented, young wingers with lots of potential, and both play in Europe. Rojas (a former WPFC prospect who controversially left the club a few years ago) is probably one of the better fits for the style of football I have in mind. On the other hand Chris W​ood might not be my ideal type of striker, but he's the best in nation and will probably lead the line for years to come.

Young first choice full backs Bill Tuiloma (Marseille) and Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners) both picked up serious injuries (hip surgery; knee tendonitis) and will be out 6-7 months. 19 year old Tuiloma looks particularly promising, hopefully this injury won't harm his long term development.

Best U20 prospects include 17 year old playmaker Dylan Burns from Nottingham Forest and our very own Tyler Boyd, a personal favourite of mine. Still a WIP, but I like using him as an impact bench player for both club and country:

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As I said we have a solid core of first choice players, and most of them are in a 20-25 range of age, which is great news for present and future. Developing existent talent and producing/nurturing new prospects will be the main goal of my job with the national teams. I'd say the international set-up will be almost treated as a club...

In addition to the senior NT, I'm taking over U23 and U20 teams as well: both junior teams should have quite a busy schedule between Olympic Qualifiers and Olympic Games (U23) and the U20 World Cup & OFC Cup. All these fixtures will be a great chance to give game experience at a higher level of competition to our young NZ players.

My right hand man and assistant manager Ryan Nelsen will help me coordinating and evaluating all the squads, and will be in charge for all U20/U23 non-competitive matches. He's an All Whites legend and I'll try to re-launch his career after his fiasco as a manager of Toronto FC.


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kandersson

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New Zealand National Team: Year 2014

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First set of international friendlies for the All Whites, as we closed the year with a 5W-1L record mostly against exotic opponents, while also testing new players and tactics:

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Convincing wins against decent North American sides like Canada and Panama were encouraging, while the only loss came against Bolivia in a very close match. Our young veterans are performing at the expected level, while youngest prospects are also showing some promise - Tyler Boyd made this year's best eleven!

Unfortunately another of our top young players, winger Ryan Thomas, suffered a very serious injury while playing for his club - knee tendonitis, out 5-6 months. In other news Wellington Phoenix very own Michael McGlinchey won the Oceania Player of the Year award.

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Next fixtures of the NT will involve the U23 team and the very first competitive matches for NZF under my tenure: the Olympic Games Qualifiers for Oceania, which will take place in a few days this January.

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Should be fun, needless to say we WANT to be at next Olympics, thus MUST win this tournament.​
 
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kandersson

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New Zealand Under 23: Olympic Qualifiers

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First taste of competitive football for the national team: it's 'only' the U23 but being at the Olympics is an important part of my plans for NZF so these qualifiers are a priority for us. Obviously average quality of our opponents is quite (very) low and we're STRONG favourites to win the tournament. Let's just say anything lower than 1st place would lead me to resign immediately.

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Luckily I'm still at my post...

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All easy for the All Whites as we won every game of the tournament including a 7-1 aggregate win against brave runner-up Vanuatu. I would have liked to see even more dominant wins against opponents this weak, but an ill-timed injury crisis plagued our squad for whole competition: are these kids even attending training sessions at their clubs during the year? 5-6 of our players got injured after a couple of games and missed the rest of the qualifiers, while pretty much all the others (except MY Phoenix players) constantly struggled with fitness and conditioning. This just won't do against tougher competition.

Tyler Boyd was Top Scorer (6 goals in 5 matches) and best player of the tournament as he showed a promising connection with playmaker Dylan Burns. Obviously they'll need to prove themselves at a higher level than this, but their development is encouraging and certainly a key part of the future for NZF.
 
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Sam91

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Loved your San Marino stories mate, can't wait to see how you get on here!!
 

kandersson

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Wellington Phoenix 2014/15: Winter Break Update

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The A-League stops for one month in January, as the Australia national team is involved in the Asian Cup. This is a good time to assess Wellington Phoenix season so far with all the results, transfers and news from the club.

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At the half season mark we're leading Regular Season league table by a comfortable margin, an impressive feature for a team predicted to finish dead last and struggling with finances - and actually the Nix are leading the A-League even in real life at the moment! Despite arguably the lowest wages in the league and no Marquee Players (the equivalent of MLS Designated Players: high reputation and high wages players that don't count against the strict A-League rules and salary cap) we have a very good squad for this standard of football and we generally play the most entertaining football in the country(es).

Club's finances remain a big concern, as we are now around 2M euros in red (we started the season with just an even balance) despite a strict salary cap observance - no Marquee Players, Australian Marquees or Junior Marquees - and no other significant investments. I even tried to sell ALL my best players, but nobody seems interested at the moment, which is kind of weird as most of them should be at least Championship caliber players and are also equipped with a convenient EU passport (McGlinchey, Bonevacia, Moss, McDonald, Riera to name a few).

We still added a couple of excellent free agents to bolster our squad, both signing at our maximum allowed wages: 50K euros per year...

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Alex Wilkinson
is a commanding centre back and an Australian international who was happy to come back to the A-League after an experience in South Korea; he will eventually replace the great Michael Boxall (who unfortunately has an agreement to join South African side Supersport next June since the start of the season) as the leader of our back line. Brazilian playmaker Mario Lucio joined from the Chinese league and might be one of the best singnings in the club's history. Both players are well above A-League average standard, and will play on ridiculous bargain contracts. Mario Lucio could also be young enough to play for New Zealand someday, OR to be sold and provide a decent profit...

Other good news for the club and especially for manager Alberto Rossini:

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Contract renewal! Yay! I accepted an extension through 2017 at unchanged wages, but most importantly the new deal will include immediate investments for the youth set-up: Junior Coaching has been further upgraded and is now regarded as 'average', a substantial improvement in just a few months since my appointment (Junior Coaching was 'basic' at the very start of the season). Hmmm thinking about that, these investments might actually be the main cause of our financial struggles... but academy and youth development are absolutely keys of my whole NZF plan, so never mind!



 
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kandersson

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Wellington Phoenix Reserves: ASB Premiership 2014/15

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The first chance to win a trophy at club level surprisingly came with the New Zealand Football Championship, aka the ASB Premiership, as Wellington Phoenix Reserves eventually won the Regular Season...

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... but came up short in the playoffs losing in the semifinal against eventual champions Waitakere United. All in all a pretty good result considering our very restricted squad: A-League rules only allow to register 23 players on senior contracts, and unregistered players are automatically waived; U20 players on youth contracts don't need to be registered, the problem is the Nix have NO youth players at the moment (this is mainly because the youth team can't even enter the Australian Youth League...) so our Reserves often fielded a few hopeless youth signings and the occasional greyed out player as well as senior team back-ups.

We took advantage of A-League winter break and used regular first team players for the january matches, an ideal way to keep them in shape during the break and also make a run of results in the NZ league.

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I really feel this league has a lot of potential for us: level of football is actually not that bad, and I'm very curious about a potential O-League qualification - technically we should be qualified as Regular Season winners, and that 'Q' next to our club's name in the league table looks promising, but I still don't know if this will happen (pretty sure it can't happen IRL). Anyway our experience in ASB Premiership has been very productive:

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363K euros of prize money? ****, let me get out of A-League now! No surprise clubs like Auckland City and Team Wellington can give higher wages than us... Kiwi prospect Matthew Ridenton showed fantastic progress this season and seemed to benefit immensely from my prototypical NZF development plans: despite only a single sub appearance for the first team Ridenton was able to develop at excellent rate thanks to ample playing time with the Reserves (he was one of the best performers of ASB Premier) and with all the national teams (mostly U20 and U23), while also training with the first team all the season. He's now one of the top U20 prospects in the country and an important player for the future of both club and NT. Hopefully many other prospects will follow this path in the future.



Up next: the U20 National Team faces the always charming Oceania Cup U20.

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Yes we can Bill, yes we can.​
 
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Lippo255

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Just read through this, very interesting!

The Nix are in a horrible situation in regards to continental football, I almost feel sorry for them. Almost! I actually tried to use the editor to move NZ into Asia so that some old rivalries could be reborn & the Nix could play in the ACL but the database kept crashing on me so abandoned it.

Would be an idea though.....

In any case will definitely be keeping an eye on this mate, though I wont be cheering too loudly for you ;)
 

kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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Just read through this, very interesting!

The Nix are in a horrible situation in regards to continental football, I almost feel sorry for them. Almost! I actually tried to use the editor to move NZ into Asia so that some old rivalries could be reborn & the Nix could play in the ACL but the database kept crashing on me so abandoned it.

Would be an idea though.....

In any case will definitely be keeping an eye on this mate, though I wont be cheering too loudly for you ;)
thanks, big fan of your India story!

yeah the AFC ban sucks, and I'm afraid the Nix are hard coded to be ineligible for Asian CL in FM in any case so I've been told there's no way to edit this. Hopefully there's a workaround with the reserves team and the O-League, who knows... I don't particularly care for continental football (be it AFC or OFC) as prize money isn't great and between A-League, NZ league and all the national teams fixtures I already have enough games to take care of... I do crave for Club World Cup though (huge money there) and continental cups are the only way to get there.

for old times' sake I'm also planning an annual (non) friendly match-up New Zealand vs Australia, it will be our Oceania Classic pretty much like the Superclasico de las Americas Brazil vs Argentina...

btw my fellow manager CJ Lippo is a Kiwi and I can prove it :p
 

kandersson

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New Zealand National Team: Oceania U20 Championship 2015

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Another tournament in the busy schedule of New Zealand youth teams: the Oceania U20 Championship usually serves as our passport for World Cup U20, which means this is an important competition for the ambitious NZF plans. This year though it's a little less meaningful as New Zealand will host the 2015 edition of U20 World Cup next June, thus are automatically qualified. Obviously we still want/must win this tournament, we're huge favourites and greedy manager Alberto Rossini is always happy to add another trophy to his collection.

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And we did win the tournament as we also won every match we played, though I can't say I was particularly impressed with our performances: defence looked shaky at times, and we needed extra times to beat a pedestrian Tahiti side in the final (2-0). Playmakers Matthew Ridenton and Dylan Burns carried the team, our group of attackers and strikers is more than adequate for this standard; on the other hand the goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders are looking pretty lame at the moment (the exception being Bill Tuiloma), hopefully the new class of youngsters will bring some much needed quality in those areas.

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Right now striker Tamati Mason is the most promising prospect from latest class of NZ talent. A product of ASB Premiership side WaiBOP United's youth set-up, Mason has scored 4 goals in 4 games with New Zealand U20 and is highly regarded both by NT staff and my Wellington Phoenix scouts. Still only 15, Tamati appears to have tons of untapped potential and I'd love to bring him at WPFC and personally oversee his development; unfortunately we can't afford him at the moment as WaiBOP are asking an absurd (for us...) 90K euros to sell him - yeah we're that broke.


Up next: Wellington Phoenix try to bring A-League title out of Australia for the first time in history.​
 

kandersson

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well thanks to the sloppy work of SI games this save is over as Wellington Phoenix youth candidates can't sign youth contracts - can you believe that?

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clearly a bug (I actually think I know why this is even happening), only the last of a long series that plagued A-league and Wellington in particular since release day (from work permits bug to OFC international players getting stuck with NT for months; check the bugs forum at SI games site, I reported most of them personally). For a 'normal' save this would just be annoying; for this specific club/country save this is the end.

I might post end of season updates but no point going on with this save. World Cup U20 had been amazing.

This one is for my fellow almost Kiwi manager CJ Lippo:

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Lippo255

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I will not respond to the result at the end, which is clearly a photo shop job :p

The youth contract thing is devastating! I've had that many bugs & anomalies in my India save as well. From having to name squads that mean nothing to player restrictions that just disappear over night.

I could go on a rant about how SI dont seem to give a F about anything outside of Europe but instead i will just say bad luck mate :'(
 
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kandersson

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Nov 13, 2010
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I will not respond to the result at the end, which is clearly a photo shop job :p

The youth contract thing is devastating! I've had that many bugs & anomalies in my India save as well. From having to name squads that mean nothing to player restrictions that just disappear over night.

I could go on a rant about how SI dont seem to give a F about anything outside of Europe but instead i will just say bad luck mate :'(
Well I did my job as a good citizen and just raised this on SI forums... honestly after all the WPFC bugs reported month after month this is embarrassing.

I was enjoying this save immensely, could have easily become one of my favorites ever. Think I'm done with FM15 atm.
 

kandersson

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In my eternal fight against the machine I actually found a pretty simple way to go around the lethal youth contract bug: I can assign my head of youth development to handle all contract renewals for youth teams and he will magically sign youth candidates on those vital youth contracts. It's not ideal as he tends to sign almost all the candidates (even the most rubbish) but it gives me a chance to go on with this save!

end of season update and Oceania Classic coming soon for those still following this ;)
 

kandersson

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Wellington Phoenix: A-League 2014/15

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Wellington Phoenix already dominating the A-League despite media predictions and modest financial resources, as the Nix easily won both Regular Season and Final Series titles:

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The Regular Season really was a breeze as we finished 21 points above 2nd placed Perth Glory, and we closed the season in style thrashing them 4-0 in the Grand Final. The Nix made history becoming the first non-Australian club to ever win the A-League; this was also the first time that an A-League Grand Final was played outside Australia (the team with better regular season record hosts the event).

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To add to the Kiwi triumph, all goals of the final were scored by New Zealand players - Tyler Boyd and Michael McGlinchey scored a brace each. It was a very proud moment for Wellington and NZF, as the Phoenix won the first major trophy in the club's history consistently relying on New Zealand players; the Grand Final starting 11 featured no less than 5 Kiwis!


Best Eleven & Top Performers


In a great season for the club virtually every player on the roster performed very well, as the team had success playing different styles of football and experimenting several tactics before eventually settling with the famous Executioner by TFF (I just love this formation). Here's our Best Eleven, followed by Alberto Rossini's honorable mentions for this season:

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Louis Fenton: the young Kiwi defender became undisputed first choice at right back for both club and country, and showed fantastic progress during the whole season. Dominated the right flank as the main playmaker on that side of the pitch, and recorded the highest average rating at the club with 7.47. Won A-League Young Player of the Year award, and Wellington Phoenix Fans PoY as well. Oh and his full name is Louis Ferenc Puskas Fenton. #RunningMan

Michael Boxall:
big bad centre back is only a back up at international level behind star defenders Winston Reid and Tommy Smith, but was automatic first choice for a dominating Wellington side. Boxall led the line with authority and formed an excellent partnership with Andrew Durante and then with Alex Wilkinson, complementing them well with his strength, pace and aggression. Had a pre-agreement to join South African side Supersport at the end of the season, it won't be easy for us to replace him adequately. #HelloGoodbye

Roly Bonevacia:
Dutch midfield dynamo was a key piece in the middle with his tough tackling, accurate passing and long shooting ability: Bonevacia really did it all in the midfield, also scoring 7 goals from his defensive/central midfielder position. Roly also expressed the desire to represent New Zealand at international level once he obtains citizenship (it will take 4 more years); if Suriname doesn't call him up earlier and if I don't sell him in the meantime, that would be great for NZF... #RolyTheKiwi

Scott McDonald:
veteran striker signed for free to provide cover for the attackers, and eventually played most of the games due to injuries and poor form of other forwards (f**k you Kerlon). McDonald rediscovered his Celtic form as he scored 13 A-League goals (2nd in the league) also winning A-League Player of the Year in the process. Playing in several attacking roles and mentoring Wellington's promising youngsters McDonald emerged as a key figure at the club, and even managed to get back into the Australia national team! #TheReturn

Tyler Boyd: young Kiwi striker started the season as a super-sub but forced his way into the first team with his steady progress and performances, scoring 11 league goals and culminating in the beautiful brace in the Grand Final (including a virtuoso solo goal). I love everything about this kid, his pace, dribbling and flair on the ball represent the brand of football I'm trying to build with my whole NZF project. Will start next season as a first choice striker for both club and country, sky is the limit for Tyler. #FutureIsNow



The only disappointment of the season was Brazilian flop Kerlon, who actually showed flashes of quality when fully fit... which was more or less 12 minutes during whole season. The unfit, injury prone Kerlon only made a half-dozen appearances with the first team and never really left the mark. I was hoping to sell him (he was still valued 1,2M euros) but I just couldn't find a buyer, so gladly payed 70K to rescind his contract (A-League rules make these kind of deals much easier for the clubs): can't afford to waste a roster spot - especially a foreigner spot - on a ghost.



Up Next: New Zealand VS Australia friendly match, AKA first edition of the Oceania Classic.​
 
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