Wellington Wants Football Heroes Back

15 November 2009

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the City Council will work hard to get the All Whites back to the Capital before next year's World Cup.

"We'll be talking to Football NZ in the hope the team can assemble again in Wellington for a warm-up match - because then I'd think we'd be able to pay formal tribute to Ricki Herbert and the players for all they did last night.

"I think it would have been nice to offer formal congratulations today - but most people who watched the match are still too hoarse for speechmaking - and I'm sure the players and Ricki deserve time off to really enjoy the moment."

Mayor Prendergast, who was at the match, agrees with other observers that she can't recall an atmosphere as tense and exciting at any local sports encounter for many a year.

"Beckham was big - but last night was just something else."

"I pay tribute to the thousands of Wellingtonians - and the thousands of other Kiwis who poured into the Stadium - for creating such a memorable racket and for keeping the All Whites going in what was such a nerve-racking match.

"The fact the Stadium sold out so quickly proves Wellington is a football town - and that's why we want the All Whites back."

Mayor Prendergast says rough estimates, based on other big Stadium events, would put the economic value of last night's match at about $7 million to the city and region.

"The city was really jumping last night - the Council's events staff say there were about 2,000 people - at least - watching the match live on the big screen at Queens Wharf - and any bar with a screen was packed.

"I'm told that the party atmosphere in Courtenay Place was on a par with the Sevens nights - but far more people were just looking for a stiff drink to calm the nerves."