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New Zealand v Bahrain, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ


What a great day for New Zealand Football. New Zealand is going to the Football World Cup Finals in South Africa. NewZealandAtoZ had one of its staff at the game, here are his thoughts.


Wellington had the feel of something big and that something big was going to happen, not like the every year Rugby "test" matches that the New Zealand public are starting to get bored with. Rugby has turned into less about the game, and more about "how much money can the All Black brand make", it was refreshing to get the feeling that this group of Football players (The All Whites) would pay to play in this game and would fundraise to pay their own way to the Football World Cup Finals if needed.


The walk to the stadium through town was full of songs and chants, all the bars were overflowing with happy football fans of all shapes and sizes. It was easy to get to and into the ground then find your seat after grabbing a drink or 2 plus a hotdog (prices were normal monopoly stadium type prices with beer at $6 a bottle). The atmosphere was something that may only be reproduced if New Zealand make the World Cup Rugby final at home and has not been felt since the 1987 World Cup Rugby final at home. The crowd was great, with constant support for the All Whites or amusement and disgust at the number of "dives" the Bahrain players took in order to secure free kicks.


The game was so good and the crowd so into it you had whole toilet blocks to yourself during the game if you needed to go and at half time the lines were 20m long.


After the final whistle and the crowd sighed with collected relief there were more manly hugs and high fives than something with lots of hugs and high fives.


I saw no real trouble in the crowd apart from the few guys who jumped the fence to the ground and side stepped security guards after the game. The crowd sung and hugged each other as they walked out and into the pubs and clubs of Wellington to carry on well into the small hours.


I do not think this atmosphere could not have been reproduced at Eden Park, Auckland (Reasons; Atmosphere at the bars in town close to game. Ease of transport to the game. Walking back to your hotel after the game or the number of Wellington city workers who have work parks to put their cars). Rugby has to now sharpen their act with the Rugby World Cup approaching fast. The good thing the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand has going for them is Martin Sneddon. I am not from Wellington; I would love to see Dunedin's new Forsyth Barr Stadium hold an event this good.


Well done New Zealand Football with ticket prices at $30 and $40, well done Westpac Stadium, and well done Wellington.

Most of all, well done All Whites!


Passion, New Zealand v Bahrain, Wellington

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