It is a good thing that NZ has a representitive in the A-league, but it's a real slap in the face to everyone in Aucks that supported the Kingz/Knights despite all the BS, to have the frachise uprooted and moved to a town like Wellington.Owner Terry Serepisos sees the move of New Zealand's A-League football team to Wellington as the rebirth of professional football and has named the franchise accordingly.
Serepisos confirmed yesterday the franchise would be called Wellington Phoenix Football Club after a week of consultation with the public through The Dominion Post reader polls.
"We cut the 250 (suggestions) down to six and from that we were getting FC Wellington and Wellington Phoenix, and I thought this is a rebirth, rising from the ashes, and Phoenix is a great opportunity to take it on board," Serepisos said.
The phoenix is a mythical Egyptian firebird which at the end of its life builds a nest and then ignites, with both the nest and bird burning before being reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix rises.
The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded, thus being almost immortal and invincible, while its tears can heal wounds.
"It's quite spiritual, it's a rebirth, and hence I went with the public feeling and my own gut feeling," Serepisos said.
The striking logo, developed by his cousin John Serepisos, hasn't been officially signed off yet but Serepisos believed it was an "incredibly strong image that the public will latch on to".
"The handful of people who have seen it have really embraced it and (Phoenix coach) Ricki Herbert's loving it."
He said his interim management group would continue to work hard in coming weeks to get the franchise up and running ahead of the season, which starts in July.
"It's all about getting the right infrastructure. We're already behind the eight-ball but it's a matter of getting the right team of people on the business side, with the most important appointment being the CEO.
"And player-wise, from my understanding, Ricki has already recruited a few people and he's scouting at the moment. We're working hard to get this done."
Serepisos, whose name had been googled 13,300 times during the past week, admits he's still coming to terms with the enormity of the task, but said the support he had received was "overwhelming".
"I'd like to thank the public and The Dominion Post for the help we got with the name. The support has been great, particularly in Wellington, but from all over the country and overseas.
"I know the city will embrace it because, apart from the Hurricanes, what else have we got.
"Not only will we have a soccer team of our own but we're going to get to see some of the top players in Australia and top international players in Wellington."
If the NZS hadn't dealt with the whole thing so poorly I'm sure backing for an Auckland based franchise could have been found. Serepisos only got involved cause he happened to hear a radio item about the franchise while he was getting his hair cut.