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Old March 23rd, 2009, 09:25 AM   #121
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I suppose for people overseas it tells them exactly which city the games are in. Many of them would not know where Lancaster park is. After all it hasn't been called Lancaster park since what the late 90s or so?
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:29 AM   #122
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Yeah but for the rest of the time where it's called Jade/AMI/whatever it is now, I doubt that means much to them either.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #123
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Manawatu now Highlanders country
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2009


Highlanders host Bulls at new home
By LOGAN SAVORY - Southland Last updated 05:00 24/03/2009
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Highlanders host Bulls at new home

Manawatu Rugby Union boss John Knowles is hoping the Palmerston North public will make a loud statement on Saturday night.

A loud statement to both the Hurricanes franchise and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

In a ground-breaking move the Highlanders will play a "home game" in Palmerston North on Saturday evening when they meet South African team the Bulls in round seven of the competition.

Knowles wasn't hiding the fact Manawatu rugby fans were "peeved" as a result of their Super 14 snubbing in recent seasons.

He suggested it is that snubbing that will lure people to the game.

Manawatu falls into the Hurricanes region but wasn't allocated a Hurricanes game this year.

The Palmerston North public now seemed to have embraced southern team the Highlanders. Their loyalties have quickly swung as a result of the move to hold the game in the city this weekend.

In a poll on a local Palmerston North radio station last week Knowles said people who called in unanimously backed the Highlanders rather than throwing their support behind the Hurricanes during this year's Super 14.

Knowles said the rugby public had been starved of top level rugby recently and he suggested the city would show on Saturday night that it deserved to be hosting Super 14 games.

Knowles earmarked a figure of 10,000 which he would be happy with at the capacity 14,000 Arena Manawatu ground.

"There is a real buzz and excitment in the city about the game. Super 14 is failing miserably around the country but we've been starved of top level rugby and I think we'll pull in a pretty good crowd," he said.

If that 10,000 figure that Knowles has circled for Saturday was met then the Highlanders bold move to play a home game outside the region is likely to be regarded as a successful one.

A crowd of 12,000 showed up for the Highlanders 6-nil victory over the Crusaders in round four, but outside of that the Highlanders home crowds have again generally been poor this season.

Invercargill did pull in 6500 for the game against the Chiefs a fortnight ago, which is the second largest Highlanders crowd.

But that is expected to be eclipsed in Palmerston North this weekend.


The Manawatu Rugby Union have made a guarantee to the Highlanders franchise that it will pull in an undisclosed crowd number.

If that crowd number isn't met Manawatu will have to pick up the cost, however, Knowles was confident the union wouldn't be hit in the pocket as a result of the venture.

The Highlanders will travel to Palmerston North tomorrow where they will hold training sessions and visit schools to try help promote Saturday's game.
Good on Manawatu I say. If they're being snubbed by the Hurricanes then why shouldn't they revolt and support someone else?

10k is a lot for a Highlanders 'home' game too, more than an Invercargill crowd even. Personally, I hope they get that many at the Palmerston North game and show the Hurricanes where to stick it =)

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Old March 25th, 2009, 02:51 AM   #124
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this highlights why the franchises are a crap idea. Bring back proper provinces so that people actually have proper teams to cheer for again.

Honestly would anyone in Palmy really give a rat's ring peice about the Hurricanes? A team that does not play any games there and plays in a yellow and black strip. What a joke.

If anyone is listening to Radio Sport at the moment Miles Davis is discussing this. Most callers seem to be in favour of going back to proper provinces.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #125
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I felt a bit like that about the Highlanders until very recently. It's only this year they've bothered to wear Southland colours (I've noticed commentators accidentally calling them Southland even), because no one in Otago shows up to games, and half the squad are from Southland, with Southland being the far stronger province of the two in recent Air NZ Cup seasons. Most of their match profit is made in Southland as well. It makes sense.

As Manawatu aren't in that position with the Hurricanes however, I think these drastic measures are warranted.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:25 AM   #126
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Yeah i noticed the highlanders had recently donned maroon jerseys.

The thing is though they are still not Southland though they are a regional franchise. They still play the majority of their games at carisbrook. How can anyone get overly enthusiastic about that?

We have dumped over 100 years of provincial tradition in favour of the meaningless regional franshises and i think this is a major reason nobody is interested in the super 14 anymore. Sadly the people who run the game here don't seem to have any idea about this and think serving up more of the same will get people back into it.

In the Northern Hemisphere the game is thriving and the standard IMO is nowhere near as good. Why? because they have a menaingful competiton based around traditional club teams like Wasps, Harlequins, Saracens, London Irish, Munster, Ulster etc. Not franchises with daft american sounding names. People need to feel a connection to their team.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:31 AM   #127
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But how do you choose which 5 teams play in the Super 14? Even a trans-tasman series would only have maybe 7-8 New Zealand teams at most.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 05:43 AM   #128
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Well some teams would miss out and have to play in a second teir competition. That's just the way it is. I'd accept that as a North Harbour supporter my team could possibly be one of those. Much like a team like Newtown which won the winfield cup in the 1980's is now playing in the NRL second tier comp and much like many teams that have long and proud histories in English football now play in lower divisions.


I'd rather cheer for my team in a lower competition than somebody else's (The Blues are really just Auckland they play in Blue and White strip and are based at Eden Park) in a higher one.


In an ideal world you would have promotion/relegation but i'm not sure you would be able to do that in NZ. It would be hard for a team from an ameteur competition to come up and compete in a professional one. Unless of course making the first division meant a slice of the TV money from the NZRU with which you could buy some players to bolster your team.


I think you would want 8 NZ teams at least. I think we have more chance of sustaining that then Aussie would have of sustaining 5 teams. Don't think they have enough depth unless they let in foreign players or start raiding league. That would mean a few would not make the cut.

From the current NPC line up I would think you would take out either Harbour or Counties as 3 teams from the Auckland region would be too many. I'd think Tasman would probably go as well. They have looked shaky for years. So there are two that would not make the cut for starters.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #129
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But how do you choose which 5 teams play in the Super 14? Even a trans-tasman series would only have maybe 7-8 New Zealand teams at most.
The Super 10 had it right back in the day. Just the top four teams from the Air NZ Cup each year.

Of course that does run the risk of a rather useless Auckland team missing out, which would be a bit of bummer for profit in this country. That wasn't an issue back in the Super 10 days of course when Auckland kicked everyones arse.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 08:45 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by cambennett View Post
In the Northern Hemisphere the game is thriving and the standard IMO is nowhere near as good. Why? because they have a menaingful competiton based around traditional club teams like Wasps, Harlequins, Saracens, London Irish, Munster, Ulster etc. Not franchises with daft american sounding names. People need to feel a connection to their team.
Some of our NPC teams have names. Northland Taniwha, BoP Steamers, Hawke's Bay Magpies, Manawatu Turbos, Wellington Lions, Southland Stags.

EDIT: And apparently Counties-Manukau are known as the Steelers according to wiki.

Last edited by Richard7666; March 25th, 2009 at 09:04 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #131
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Some of our NPC teams have names. Northland Taniwha, BoP Steamers, Hawke's Bay Magpies, Manawatu Turbos, Wellington Lions, Southland Stags.

EDIT: And apparently Counties-Manukau are known as the Steelers according to wiki.
Yes but these have only come about in the last few years. These are marketing gimmicks as well.

In the case of Wellington they are only called that because of the beer that sponsors them, Lion Brown. I think the name steelers came about because of sponsorship as well although i could be wrong about that. I remember at one stage they had mascot called steely dan.

Hawkes Bay's traditional nickname was the magpies and their mascot had always been a magpie called Hawkeye. Manawatu turbos sounds particularly ridiculous.

Maybe i'm just a crabby old traditionalist but it all just seems a bit forced and fake but the names are not really the issue for me i just think they sound a bit silly. To be honest i don't really care if they want to use daft names as long as they play as provinces rather than regional franchises. I think they have more meaning to many people.

Last edited by cambennett; March 25th, 2009 at 09:25 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #132
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The Super 10 had it right back in the day. Just the top four teams from the Air NZ Cup each year.

Of course that does run the risk of a rather useless Auckland team missing out, which would be a bit of bummer for profit in this country. That wasn't an issue back in the Super 10 days of course when Auckland kicked everyones arse.
I thought Super 10 was only the so called big 3 of Akld, Wgtn and Chch and there was no promotion/relegation for other NZ provinces. By memory that's why Waikato and Otago established the CANZ series with Canada even if it was very much the poor cousin.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #133
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I thought Super 10 was only the so called big 3 of Akld, Wgtn and Chch and there was no promotion/relegation for other NZ provinces. By memory that's why Waikato and Otago established the CANZ series with Canada even if it was very much the poor cousin.
No i think you are confusing it with the South Pacific championship which preceeded the super 10. The super 10 was the top four qualifiers. I remember Harbour made it one year and Warren Burton missed a kick in front of the posts against NSW which would have got them through to the semis.

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Old March 26th, 2009, 04:03 AM   #134
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i'd prefer a 14/15 team trans tasman competition, and the top teams from this competition the currie cup and a few japan/argentina/pacfic teams play the next season in a heineken cup/uefa champions league like competition. a way of including south africa/japan/argentina/pacific without including them... if that makes sense
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #135
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Honestly would anyone in Palmy really give a rat's ring peice about the Hurricanes? A team that does not play any games there and plays in a yellow and black strip. What a joke.
The Canes are EXTREMELY popular in Palmerston North, as they are in New Plymouth, Napier etc...and there is the problem.

We constantly hear whingeing about poor gates for S14, and yet the Hurricanes, with 7 home games this year, will only play 1 game outside of Wellington.

Everytime a game is played in PN it basically sells out - so thats at least 16k, probably closer to 18k. How many times will the Canes get a gate of 16k in the Cake Tin this year? And thats before we talk of the bigger venues in New Plymouth and Napier.

Moving to 5 provinces makes stuff all difference, in fact, its worse. You effectively have 5 provinces now because 95% of games are played in 5 centres - Auckland City, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. And the fact is that those cities aren't exactly getting outstanding support from the locals either at S14 or NPC level. If you move permanently to those venues then you alienate the rest of the population in the provinces who - miraculously - still support their local franchise despite the shameful treatment by the franchise boards and the NZRFU. How will that help?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #136
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The Canes are EXTREMELY popular in Palmerston North, as they are in New Plymouth, Napier etc...and there is the problem.

We constantly hear whingeing about poor gates for S14, and yet the Hurricanes, with 7 home games this year, will only play 1 game outside of Wellington.

Everytime a game is played in PN it basically sells out - so thats at least 16k, probably closer to 18k. How many times will the Canes get a gate of 16k in the Cake Tin this year? And thats before we talk of the bigger venues in New Plymouth and Napier.

Moving to 5 provinces makes stuff all difference, in fact, its worse. You effectively have 5 provinces now because 95% of games are played in 5 centres - Auckland City, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. And the fact is that those cities aren't exactly getting outstanding support from the locals either at S14 or NPC level. If you move permanently to those venues then you alienate the rest of the population in the provinces who - miraculously - still support their local franchise despite the shameful treatment by the franchise boards and the NZRFU. How will that help?

Are the Hurricanes themsleves really popular or is it just that once every two years in Palmy they get to see top level rugby in the flesh? I'll bet you the Highlanders sell out there as well does this mean the Highlanders are really popular there? Do they really give a toss about the super 14 comp? Are they really passionate Hurricane supporters who get uspset if the Hurricanes get knocked out of the comp? Or do they just enjoy going along once every two years to what is essentially an exhibition match for them, a night out.

I'm not talking about just five provinces, that's my point give the provinces their own teams to cheer for. You can say well we have to have South Africa in there because of money but how much is this competition going to be worth in a few years? Television Audiences in NZ alone have decreased by hundreds of thousands of viewers and nobody comes to the games. This Super competition is a lame duck nobody cares, it's dying. I've watched games on telly from SA and mostly they look to have empty stadiums there as well.

read some of the TV figures here
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news...ectid=10562847

I suppose the best way is to ask people on this forum what they think. Any rugby fans from Napier/Hastings or New Plymouth or Palmerston North which team has more relevance to you the Hurricanes or Taranaki/Hawkes Bay/Manawatu? What would you rather the Hurricanes win the super 14 or your province wins the Ranfurly shield?

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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #137
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Are the Hurricanes themsleves really popular or is it just that once every two years in Palmy they get to see top level rugby in the flesh? I'll bet you the Highlanders sell out there as well does this mean the Highlanders are really popular there? Do they really give a toss about the super 14 comp? Are they really passionate Hurricane supporters who get uspset if the Hurricanes get knocked out of the comp? Or do they just enjoy going along once every two years to what is essentially an exhibition match for them, a night out.
As a Palmy boy, trust me. The Hurricanes are popular because its OUR team in the Super 14 - and this despite the fact we have had very few players in the team historically. The suggestion that its only an exhibition match for us is, if you'll excuse my language, damn condescending. The Hurricanes "Junior" partners bought into the regional concept better, arguably, than the members of the other 4 franchises. I think the Canes' junior partners gripe is difficult to comprehend for many in the other regions because (Crusaders aside) at least their team visits the other ANZC provinces within the franchise at least once a season. The Hurricanes - despite having a truly regional fanbase - do not. And its reflected in both the crowds we get, and the anger and disappointment when, again, "our" team never plays in our city. Even one game every other year would be OK - but we generally don't even get that.

But if you want a comparison, then I expect a crowd of about 9-10k for the weekend. Decent, yes, But well short of 16k they would get for the Canes. So part of it is about big rugby, but more of it is about wanting the Canes to play fairly regularly.

I do not understand why, at a time where we have dwindling, some would say pathetic, crowds in the home bases, and there is talk of the "grassroots" feeling disconnected with the professional game, we continue to shun, at a guess, 40% of the supporter base - those based out of the Big 5.

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Originally Posted by cambennett View Post
I'm not talking about just five provinces, that's my point give the provinces their own teams to cheer for. You can say well we have to have South Africa in there because of money but how much is this competition going to be worth in a few years? Television Audiences in NZ alone have decreased by hundreds of thousands of viewers and nobody comes to the games. This Super competition is a lame duck nobody cares, it's dying. I've watched games on telly from SA and mostly they look to have empty stadiums there as well.
We have to have SA in for the money. The NZ rugby pay-tv market is saturated, their is little growth potential in Australia and Japan and the US - despite big populations, is small fry. By all means set up a trans tasman comp. But prepared to take a big revenue cut.

And as for "giving them their own province to cheer for"...who? Playing strength, depth and market forces will inevitably see Auckland, Waikato (Hamilton), Wellington and Canterbury (Christchurch) making up 4 of the top 5 with one other to fight it out - how little is that different from what we have now? I'll tell you how. Wellington (for example) won't be able to draw on support (travelling or otherwise) from Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay etc etc...so their supporter base just went down. And you can't tell me 10k extra people from the Capital are going to rush through the gates because you rebrand them "Wellington" as opposed to the Hurricanes

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Originally Posted by cambennett View Post
I suppose the best way is to ask people on this forum what they think. Any rugby fans from Napier/Hastings or New Plymouth or Palmerston North which team has more relevance to you the Hurricanes or Taranaki/Hawkes Bay/Manawatu? What would you rather the Hurricanes win the super 14 or your province wins the Ranfurly shield?
Don't see the point. One competition is practically a development tool, the other a revenue earner. If you were having to choose between dumping one, sure, but thats not whats happening. I would probably like to see Manawatu win the shield preferably, and maybe most would at a provincial level. But the Ranfurly Shield/ANZC doesn't pay the bills.....and besides, I'd actually like to see both happen
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #138
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As a Palmy boy, trust me. The Hurricanes are popular because its OUR team in the Super 14 - and this despite the fact we have had very few players in the team historically. The suggestion that its only an exhibition match for us is, if you'll excuse my language, damn condescending. The Hurricanes "Junior" partners bought into the regional concept better, arguably, than the members of the other 4 franchises. I think the Canes' junior partners gripe is difficult to comprehend for many in the other regions because (Crusaders aside) at least their team visits the other ANZC provinces within the franchise at least once a season. The Hurricanes - despite having a truly regional fanbase - do not. And its reflected in both the crowds we get, and the anger and disappointment when, again, "our" team never plays in our city. Even one game every other year would be OK - but we generally don't even get that.



I do not understand why, at a time where we have dwindling, some would say pathetic, crowds in the home bases, and there is talk of the "grassroots" feeling disconnected with the professional game, we continue to shun, at a guess, 40% of the supporter base - those based out of the Big 5.


We have to have SA in for the money. The NZ rugby pay-tv market is saturated, their is little growth potential in Australia and Japan and the US - despite big populations, is small fry. By all means set up a trans tasman comp. But prepared to take a big revenue cut.





Don't see the point. One competition is practically a development tool, the other a revenue earner. If you were having to choose between dumping one, sure, but thats not whats happening. I would probably like to see Manawatu win the shield preferably, and maybe most would at a provincial level. But the Ranfurly Shield/ANZC doesn't pay the bills.....and besides, I'd actually like to see both happen
Fair enough i'll take your word on that as a palmy boy. Personally i find that a bit strange. As a North Harbour supporter i can't get into supporting the Blues pretty much all of my mates are the same. They mean nothing to me and that's just across the bridge. I can only speak from a North Harbour perspective when the Blues come across to play games over here not many turn up. For a lot of us It's not our team. The whole thing seems a bit farcical i mean for 3 years there we were with the Cheifs.


Don't mean to be codesending i just can't understand how people can have any connection to a team based in another city with no local players or tardition associated with that team. What i meant that was as Palmy does not host test matches this was the highest standard of rugby you could see there live without having to jump in your car and drive to Wellington or elsewhere.


I'm not sure if it's because you are not living here but I think you are seriously underestimating how unpopular this tournament has become and how much trouble it is in. Yes there would be a revenue cut if SA opted out and also a large cut in cost of holding the tournament by not having to fly players half way around the world. However if the tournament continues to be a fizzer then how much will the likes of Newsd ltd pay for it anyway? Who wants to watch teams nobody really gives a toss about playing in empty stadiums?

However If you look at earlier posts you will notice that most of us are not just advocating a trans tasman on it's own. there would also be a champions league style knockout competition with the top four currie cup teams and maybe some from Japan. This could add numbers to potential TV viewership without the situation we have now of playing a provinvial league type tournament over three time zones .



I think the reason SANZAR is having these meetings to try and flesh out a new style of tournament is that if they keep with the status quo the revenue is going to go anyway. People are voting with their feet. This competition is in it's death throes and there have to be changes soon IMO.


I think you would if you remember back when the ABs used to play in the NPC late 90s early 2000s and the tournament was not just treated as a development comp you used to get great crowds. I can actually remember the games from back then, Ben Blair's try to keep the shield from wellington back in 2000, Otago's win in the 98 NPC, Wellington winning the 2001 final when Jonah scored that scorcher down the touchline, Taranaki winning the sheild in 96 and then defending it against Harbour (Damn them!).I honestly can't remember who the Super 14 finalists were last year(I'm pretty sure the Crusaders were invloved, buggered if i know who they played), but then again it may be just me. To me it seems sterile and atrificial.


If you want to make things a bit more even you could introduce a salary cap and distribute the TV money evenly amongst the provinces. However you might notice in many competitions around the world there are always a few teams that will dominate look at the english premiership for example. However there are also inevitably upsets. Like i said in an eralier post i'd rather support my team at the bottom of the table than somebody elses (in my case the Blues) at the top. Hell we never won anything besides the second division until the sheild a few years ago. That dosn't mean i'm not interested in watching my team because we are not likely to win the thing.

Woah that's a long post!

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Old March 26th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #139
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Old March 26th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #140
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i'd rather support my team at the bottom of the table than somebody elses (in my case the Blues) at the top.
its good that you say that and i hope you mean it but that is the complete opposite of the bandwagon nature of supporters in this country.
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