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Sport Phoenix legend Sigmund laments reported merger

10:06  12 may  2018
10:06  12 may  2018 Source:

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Categories. Match Reports . Press Releases. Merricks laments 'flat' Phoenix . Jason Pine @pineyzb 1450518850. Fellow defenders Justin Gulley and Ben Sigmund are also still in doubt after sitting out this game with hamstring niggles.

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Wellington Phoenix confirm merger talks for partnershipWellington Phoenix football legend Ben Sigmund is stunned by the suggestion his old outfit might be shifting across the ditch, as part of a proposed merger with South West Sydney FC.

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop has confirmed he met with principals from the two clubs, while other reports suggest they have already signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint-venture entry in the A-League.

The team's training base would move to Sydney, with home games split between the two clubs. Club colours would change to South West Sydney's black and white, but the traditional black-and-yellow Phoenix strip would be worn for Wellington fixtures.

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A Phoenix Lament - lyrics. I'm tired and thin Haven't slept since the war I'm a mess of wounded skin Like a wine sack that's been torn. In the sacred space Behind the lids of my eyes Mad-Eye darkly holds my gaze And I can still see Fredrick's laughing face.

Sigmund, 37, who made 181 appearances for the Phoenix from 2008-16, told Newshub that such a move would leave a massive gap in development of the game in New Zealand.

"It would be pretty tough to swallow," he admitted. "It's vital, from my point of view, that we try to keep this club here full-time in New Zealand.

"For so many years now, having the Phoenix around and having a professional club in New Zealand has been vital for our development and young kids coming through.

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Sigmund did enough there to earn a trial with the Phoenix and was soon offered a contract. Defensive frailties blot a legend ’s landmark as Phoenix fall to Sydney FC.

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"To see it half go or three-quarters go, once a little bit goes, it will all go and you'll never get it back."

Phoenix chief executive Rob Morrison issued a statement on Saturday, admitting that the club had been talking to potential partners, but reiterating that its licence was not for sale.

"The owners have consistently maintained that they are open to external investors who could bring capital and players to the club, as well as providing professional development pathways for the players from New Zealand," said Morrison.

"Although there are currently potential options that are worth exploring... the Phoenix will not conduct any of those discussions via the media."

Sigmund was incredulous that club management would contemplate such a drastic option.

"Rob's probably got plenty of questions and things to work through, but my biggest challenge for him at the moment would be how does he expect fans to follow them?

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Offsetting that loss, the Phoenix should be boosted by the return of an experienced trio to play City. Midfield general Albert Riera, whose will be available again after serving a one-match suspension, while Merrick also expected midfielder Vince Lia (hamstring) and defender Ben Sigmund (quad) to

"How does he expect our younger generation and homegrown talent to be inspired to play for the Wellington Phoenix or whatever they're going to be called, when they're not even in our country?"

Since their inception in 2007, replacing the ill-fated New Zealand Knights, the Phoenix have provided a professional pathway for Kiwi footballers who could not find careers in European leagues.

"For me, I had no European passport and I was a foreigner in the A-League," he said. "There's not much of an opportunity if you don't have a European passport, you can't play very many places in the world.

"If you take away the Wellington Phoenix and what it offers to young Kiwis, it's pretty limited."

But Sigmund admitted the current Phoenix philosophy needed an overhaul.

"For me, it's clearly not working, and if it's not working with a lot of Australians and foreign players, why not just focus on your own backyard, focus on the development of New Zealand players?

"It might take a few years, but at least you're heading in the right direction."

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