Desperate for their club to become a more powerful force in the A-League, the passionate Wellington Phoenix supporter group ‘Yellow Fever’ are asking all Phoenix fans to observe a strict ‘no shirts’ policy at every Phoenix home game to inspire the club’s players, a campaign they’ve dubbed “Shirts Off For A Hat Trick”.
Wellington Phoenix are the only current A-League team yet to have a player score a hat trick since they started in 2007, and with the club’s fan base disappointed by yet another missed Finals Series berth, the Yellow Fever leadership group have decided to up the ante in an attempt to inspire their club’s attacking assets. Well-known for their ‘Shirts Off For The Boys’ 80th minute celebration when the Phoenix is in the lead, the Yellow Fever want all Phoenix fans attending games to keep their shirts off for every minute of every home game, until a Phoenix player scores a hat trick during the A-League season.
A Wellington Phoenix fan who goes by the Twitter handle ‘@Ryans_Rovers’ said the Yellow Fever have been left with no choice but to resort to such drastic measures.
“The Yellow Fever are a relaxed, jovial supporter group who only want to have a good time while supporting the team – the Shirts Off For The Boys celebration epitomises their desire to entertain rather than complain. However the disappointing 2013/14 A-League campaign left the supporters more dejected than ever. While the Yellow Fever know the players would be feeling disappointed, they want all Phoenix fans to show they’re hurting too.
“If all Phoenix fans go shirtless to home games – effectively bearing their hearts, souls and stomachs to the club they love, the players may feel more inspired to fix this blight on the team’s record and, in the process, elevate the Phoenix towards new heights in Season 10.”
FMF was unable to obtain a comment from the Yellow Fever at time of writing, but a fan close to the group told us the Yellow Fever wanted to emphasise this campaign wasn’t the Wellington Phoenix’s version of a Wanderers silent protest or a Cove walk-out.
“We know the first thing people will say is ‘Oh my God, the Phoenix fans are protesting!’, which is totally not what this is about. The Phoenix fans are some of the most light-hearted in the A-League, but even they have their limits.
“The fans need something to cling onto, to rally behind, to use as a launchpad for a fresh wave of enthusiasm. A hat trick is a great starting point.”
The club however isn’t thrilled with the idea, with a club spokesman telling FMF there are fears the plan could backfire.
“Surely if the fans want to keep our attacking players focused, they would want to limit the number of distractions coming from the sidelines – you wouldn’t shine a mirror into a player’s eyes to help him perform better, so why shine your stomach? Conditions aren’t exactly conducive to skin tans over here, you know.
“Because of the risk to the players’ eyesight, we are seeking independent advice to determine if this campaign will represent an OH&S risk for the player group, after which we will liaise with stadium security.”
With the regular season not beginning until October, the Phoenix fan base have a long time to plan the best way to use their reflective assets to boost their team’s hat trick opportunities without incurring the wrath of the club, its players or stadium security staff.