‘In Terry we Trust’: fans back Phoenix in crisis
Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:05a.m.
By Greg Robertson
While a spindly red financial finger is being shook at Wellington Phoenix’s owner Terry Serepisos, the fans that have feverishly supported the club since day one are standing loyal.
Inland Revenue yesterday filed court papers seeking $3.58 million in unpaid taxes from the A-League club .
It has applied to liquidate five companies, including Century City Football, which owns the Phoenix, which is said to owe $1.5m in PAYE tax deductions, GST, and KiwiSaver contributions.
But the fans have had a guts-full, and are saying that instead of bagging the club football fans should get stuck in and help get it out of trouble. After all, says Yellow Fever spokesman Guy Smith, they are one of the few A-League clubs that has never held its hand out to Football Federation Australia (FFA) for support.
“The Phoenix is hugely important to Wellington and it’s hugely important to the New Zealand football landscape,” says Mr Smith.
He says that it’s a tough economic environment for the club at the moment and was sure that debt-juggling, similar to other businesses in New Zealand, was a daily focus in the cash-poor environment.
But the key message is people value the Phoenix, and it has got nothing to do with the coffers.
Mr Smith wants people to focus on the productive: “Buy a shirt and a ticket and get along to the games, or watch them on Sky when they’re away.”
He admitted it was a terrible sight to see the club on newspaper front pages and this was part of a landscape that is becoming tiring.
“The Dom Post [who broke the story] seems to delight in it. There have been several of these ‘financial collapse’ stories now. None of them actually particularly serious. It’s all becoming a bit wearisome,” says Mr Smith.
Formal proceedings to apply for liquidation were filed with the High Court last month and the application will be heard on December 13.
Mr Serepisos acknowledged he had a tax liability but expected it to be resolved in the next few weeks.
In a statement he said Century City had been in discussions with IRD "for some time" about a tax liability and an arrangement was in place to address the matter before the end of the year.
Mr Serepisos has extensive property holdings in Wellington and has been dogged by financial troubles this year.
A study showed the Phoenix's 11 home games last season contributed $7.9m to the local economy and generated 68 full-time jobs in the region.
Mr Smith says the fans are resolute and staunch in their support.
“We just have to trust in Terry and so far he’s never done us wrong.”
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16/11/2010 3:07:23 p.m.
Dont worry, daddy Key with a gift hand out is on a roll!
16/11/2010 3:00:08 p.m.
Peter Kerr wrote:
Your organization is in need of a competent editor. The first sentence is a disgrace. The present perfect simple tense requires a past participle to give sense to this woeful start to a news item. "Shaken" is the past participle that might give this sentence meaning.
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