Soccer: Phoenix hope to host Spurs

By Daniel Richardson

The Phoenix hosted David Beckham and the LA Galaxy in 2007. Photo / Herald on Sunday
The Phoenix hosted David Beckham and the LA Galaxy in 2007. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Don't run out and buy your Tottenham Hotspur replica shirt just yet.

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome has played down a report that the English Premier League club could travel to the capital to play the Phoenix later this year.

A report today said the London club was in talks with the Phoenix to play a friendly game at Westpac Stadium in July as part of their pre-season tour to Asia.

Dome said they were in the early stages of discussions with Spurs, who are in fourth place in the Premier League, but said the dream was a long way from being a reality.

"It's a bit of a beat-up. I think people have put two and two together and got eight," Dome told APNZ.

"The basic upshot of that is, have we been talking to a few clubs? Yes, we have been talking to a few clubs. There's a lot of work to do on this sort of thing. Are we close? No, not really. But do we hope to have a Premier League team here in the off-season? Yes, we'd love to, but it's a big ask."

Hosting a Premier League outfit would be the preferred option for the Phoenix compared to another European club, Dome said. They had previously received enquiries from Italian sides but Dome said they wouldn't have enough pulling power with the average fan.

The Phoenix have hosted Argentinian side Boca Juniors as well as the LA Galaxy but a top-four club from the Premier League would be a new level.

"We have to have a number of parties coming to the party in terms of getting it across the line and that includes the city council, a potential corporate partner, the stadium itself and then of course, we've got to hope that the fans turn up. Because if the fans don't turn up you just take a bath," Dome said.

The Phoenix had been interested in getting Manchester United across the ditch when the English giants are scheduled to play an A-League All Stars XI in Sydney in July but Dome said that match had an "unusual business model that couldn't apply here".

Dome said the Phoenix had expressed an interest in trying to bring Liverpool here but they had slipped off the radar.

"We will continue to work on it. We are hopefully but we don't want to say that Tottenham are coming here, that wouldn't be right.

"It's an ongoing discussion that started maybe six to eight months ago so it has gone on for a little while and we have been throwing things around and there's been some discussions but it doesn't mean it's any more likely to happen than any other club."

The Phoenix remain in last place on the A-League ladder after they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Newcastle Jets at the Cake Tin yesterday.

- APNZ

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