Phoenix shift three games to temporary stadium

Wellington Phoenix have confirmed they will play three A-League matches in a temporary stadium at Hutt Recreation Ground due to Westpac's unavailability during the the Cricket World Cup.

The club is hoping the more intimate 9000-seat venue, built in conjunction with Hutt City Council, will provide “novelty value” for fans.

A further match will be held at Eden Park in Auckland against the Central Coast Mariners on December 13.

The renamed Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation ground fixtures will be held on Saturday February 14 (Melbourne City), Sunday February 22 (Newcastle Jets) and Saturday March 7 (Adelaide United).

Phoenix General Manager David Dome said that the club is pleased about the way the ‘away’ home games have worked out this year given a number of challenges around stadia availability.

“We are looking forward to returning to Auckland again this year and another big crowd,” Dome said.

“It’s very important for us and our commercial partners to have a presence in Auckland and our crowds are always strong in New Zealand’s largest city.

“We got almost 20,000 last year – and this season it’s a tasty wee fixture against last season’s semi-finalists Central Coast which should excite the fans.”

The Phoenix’s season throughout February and March will be significantly disrupted by the Cricket World Cup which takes out a number of stadia in New Zealand.

Dome said the club is thrilled about the prospect of three games at an intimate ground in the Hutt.

“Hutt City Council and the Club are really excited about building a temporary, intimate little stadium at Hutt Recreation Ground,” he said.

“The games at Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation ground will be more than just quality football matches.

“The club and the Hutt City Council are aligned in the vision of these games being a fantastic community day out with activities for families, cultural groups and demonstrations and all sorts of entertainment.

“The ground will have a maximum 9,000 capacity which is likely to sell out given the novelty factor and what we have planned.

“Season ticket holders and Club Members will get first crack at tickets for the three matches.

“A lot of credit has to go to the Hutt City Council in their willingness to take these games on and build something really special around these matches.”

Hutt City Council General Manager Community Services Matt Reid agreed that the matches will be a fantastic opportunity for the local community to be part of something special.

“Lower Hutt is set to be ‘the’ place for local football fans early next year,” Reid said.

“We’ll not only showcase our city and our premier ground, the Hutt Rec, but also give our community the opportunity to engage with some of their heroes.

“We’ll work closely with the Phoenix to get players out to schools and the wider community which will add to the buzz these games will generate in our city.

“We’re equally committed to working with regular users of the ground to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum during this time as we make the most of this exciting trio of fixtures.”