Marauders have a day where all walked alone FanZone Moments – Marauders FC Marauders have a day where all walked alone
Posted 12th July 2030 by Jared Franicevic aka. Angry
In the past decade, although not as successful for Marauders Football Club as previous decades, the Marauders still managed to achieve great things and provided their fanatical following with moments that will be remembered until death do us part.
Many people may expect Westpac Stadium and the Cup win in 2010 to be my outstanding memory of the decade. After all it was the most miraculous sporting comeback in a final of all time and led to scenes of wild celebration and mass hysteria all over Wellington and the wider world.
However, after passing out at half time in the concourse toilets, following a cocktail of 2 full days of alcohol and several panic attacks, my personal memories are some what distorted with blanks still being filled in to this day.
Therefore I will take you back to a darker place a little earlier to a much more vivid memory (due to the fact I was working therefore sober!) and the utter disbelief of seeing my beloved Marauders FC lose their first ever league game in the first match of the second round against arch rivals Tuskan Raiders, 2010. The significance of this occasion being that from this point onwards the Marauders FC rose as one to conquer all and start a golden dynasty.
Date: 11th July 2010
Opposition: Tuskan Raiders
Venue: Fortress Moonshine
Squad: Carl; Davey, Matt W., Dempster, Nic; Case, Adam, Fred, Fold; Mark, Jason; Poly, Gordo.
The Marauders FC team at the time may not have been their strongest ever but with a very astute team mascot in Hopper and record home crowd joined by constant enthusiasm and comical banter, the occasion was set for something special.
This top of the table clash was surrounded by hype, hope, expectation and anticipation. The latest generation of Marauders fans had never seen their beloved blue and gold complete a double regular season win over the Raiders but we have all enjoyed the stories of our uncles, fathers and grandparents who relive the highs of Crawford Green, Sladden Park and Kura Park at family gatherings or down the pub ensuring we young'uns are steeped in the successful history that embroils our club.
But still without success of our own to give us the same affiliation and global recognition those before us bestowed. That was all about to change in what was hoped to be 90 of the most dramatic and tense minutes of my life!
I was a Crowd Steward at Fortress Moonshine at the time and my orange coat was my all access season ticket. After the come back against Porirua Cryovac and a great result at Kura Park, suddenly the Marauders found themselves in a position of great power that the 09 team had never previously experienced and were in a sacred position beyond their wildest dreams. A win on this day would see the Marauders take a 6 point lead going in to the home stretch and a likely second league title. A loss and the Raiders would join the mighty Marauders a top the Sunday Premier League.
The team gathered so much momentum in the League that season, many began to believe it was simply fate that we would defeat the Raiders and whoever we faced in the expected Cup Final, we'd ensure Ol' Big Ears had a permanent resident in the Marauders Trophy Cabinet.
The mystics started to stir and soon we were talking about the similarities between the current League run and those of years gone by. Events in the monarch's history seemed to be mirroring events at our football club as were events on the wards at Shortland Street! It was all destiny and we soaked up the adulations handed out for sitting at the top of the league (through divine intervention if necessary) and to be in that position come Sunday 15th August, 2010.
So, back to the game against the Raiders we go and an experience I fully expect never to repeat as the worst day of my life and never to be equalled even in a final itself or in any other match for years to come.
The record home crowd were in place shortly after the opening of the turn-styles. The flags, banners and scarfs were arranged to dress the stadium in the usual Continental manner, but there was nothing usual about what followed.
Chants began in earnest on the terraces with not only the Kop but all 4 sides of the stadium belting out the Marauders hymns, whilst the anticipation and excitement built and built.
Us Stewards and patrons were running around like lunatics making sure everything was in place, dodging the eye of our Head Steward so he didn't call us out for Exit gate duty just before kick off. I would have took my orange coat off and ran into the crowd had I been picked for that laborious task that day.
But I wasn't and with about half an hour remaining before kick off I took my place in the Upper Centenary Stand and with hand over mouth (avoiding the cameras) I too was belting out the words to 'Welcome home Poly', 'Who gave you the friendship band?', and eventually 'What is that tied around your head?'!! Great times indeed. It seemed even the Marauders players were in absolute amusement at Poly’s attempts to accessorise. Lucky for Poly that the Fridge was not there to witness such a sight!
Now any time we sing 'Walk Alone' it is an emotional moment. Hairs do stand on the back of your neck and the lump in your throat is unavoidable. That said, I have never heard or felt anything like it when the famous old song rang out around Fortress Moonshine moments before the players took to the pitch via the UHC ladies changing room.
The roar that followed the most spine chilling rendition of the most famous club football song in the world was like a volcano erupting. It was simply unbelievable. The Raiders players picnicking in the sun at the time must have thought it was going to be a very dark day indeed for them as they stepped onto the holy Moonshine turf visibly shaking, disturbed and in seeming fear of what lay ahead. The last time they visited they were given a hiding.
The 12th man, Pedro, had given Marauders the chance to start with a bang. Whilst Raidski's players stood like rabbits in a head light, Mark Anderson popped up to deflect a tremendous header by way of a Wyllie drive onto the crossbar. A chance like that sent the Blue and Gold Army into another bout of mass hysteria, with Poly kissing and hugging Gordo, and the WAG’s crying to thy neighbour in the stands.
It appeared to some that the Marauders had been affected by a Pakistani betting scandal. Pass after pass failed to find its target unless of course that target was a simple 5m instep pass to an Orange shirt – if this was the intended target then it was inch perfect! The Raiders time and time again seeming to find themselves in acres of space whilst Marauders players simply attempted to pick their bottom lips off the ground. Never before had I seen such a lacklustre performance from my beloved team.
I remember thinking, Jeez its really happening, the Marauders unbeaten league record is going to end....but can we really wake up from this burial state we found ourselves in and actually wake up? Can we do it? Will we do it? But hey a dream is merely a dream.
What a start for the Raiders, WHAT A START! Their dream of stopping the Marauders juggernaut alive! Another ball to the lively Justice redeeming past indiscretions to race in front and beat the advancing Carlos to score the opener with a well placed finish. Surely this will wake up the Marauders.
Alas it wasn’t to be another pass given away and lacklustre attempt to win it back resulted in the Raiders number 9 dwarf firing off a great missile and just beating the outstretched hand of Carlos to make it 2-0 to the Raiders. The Raiders continued to terrorise us not only on the pitch but also from the stands via their big mouthed manager of a well known Wellington Café.
In reality the Marauders never got to grips with the atmosphere meaning we never got into the game. Sure we had chances, but were never going to steal the day from the Raiders and extend our lead to 6 points at the top of the table. However, a goal was scored by the Marauders just unfortunately it was offside. A rare well constructed attack started by Davey and continued by Dempster and Adam found Gordo in space on the left hand side. A neat turn by the hard working youngster allowed a superb delivery to the unmarked Casey who headed home with precision only to be ruled offside by Pedro.
Several yellow cards were awarded in this first half. The Marauders beneficiary being Dempster for a sloppy tackle (I think). However further sanction was lucky to be avoided when a Raiders forward was pulled down in the box by Carlos (again I think). The penalty awarded and up stepped some Swedish flatulence to slip and put the ball over the bar much to the relief of Fold who couldn’t bare seeing a penalty being scored by a player with duct tape around his socks.
As Shankly once famously said, 'Never since Chairman Mao have I seen such a show of red (blue and yellow) strength'. This was the message to be delivered at half time. Although 2-0 down the Marauders were certainly not out of the game and the skipper repeatedly asked for commitment as he was desperate no to make history and be the first league game losing captain. ‘Marauders pride’ was mentioned repeatedly and the crest used for inspiration and never was this more needed than that day against the Raiders.
The second half started with much more promise. Davey’s re-introduction to centre back brought about a change in momentum. The hard running Wyllie roaming all over the paddock trying to inspire his Marauders. Fold running at pace against the Raiders back line and Fred roaming down the left flank started to give us faithful fans hope. Time again Nic and Dave thwarted forward raids from the Raiders. Nic standing solidly and showing composure to start our own attack with precision. At this point a well rested Dempster rejoined the field and was straight into his work sliding courageously at the feet of Justice to nullify any attacks on the Marauders goal.
A fine move down the left by Fred and Case saw the ball being switched over to the right by Adam to Nic who played down the line for Poly and Fold to link up and Fold to fire his trademark bomb just narrowly over the crossbar.
As the clock ticked down, Mark, Jason and Fold tried tirelessly to grab a goal. Plenty of neat short passes between the front line resulted in half chances by Gordo. It should be pointed out that Pedro did his best to help his favourite side ruling against the Raiders on several occasions and apologising to the Marauders skipper on many occasions towards the end of the game. Twice he was heard to say “sorry Adam that is it” once the 90 minute mark had sounded but promptly carried on to allow Marauders 2 late chances. The first resulting in a goalline header hitting the opposite post from Jason.
Highlights of the second half have to be the altercation between the Swedish hippie and our very own GP who took great offence at the flatulence problem his Swedish friend had. Poly’s welcome home ‘accessories’ and the yellow card he received for winning a free-kick but then the child like pull the fingers at the offender!
This game I am thankful did not last long in the memory bank and was not copied to my brains hard drive. I am only thankful that some of my loved ones and friends did not get the chance to share this horrible experience with me. For the one's that did, we will never talk about it now and will only pass on the tales that followed onto to our kids as our fathers did.
The team wrote a new chapter into the history books one which some were not proud of but as Ricki Herbert has stated the true test of a team is how you respond to defeat. Its fair to say he was write because the next decade has seem some magic moments, with the supporters going into the Guinness Book of Records after producing the scientifically proven loudest atmosphere in a sporting arena ever known to man!
Being at Fortress Moonshine that day was just about the worst occasion I have personally experienced ever. You simply had to not be there. We lost the match and points advantage. However the way the Marauders responded to this defeat and continued the 2010 season was pure magic including going on to lift the Sportzone Cup Final. What more in life could you want?
Although our fathers have plenty more stories to tell, even they have to admit the atmosphere post match that day against the Raiders surpassed anything previously witnessed at the club and was the timely catalyst that led to the new generation start to write its own script.
For the 18 plus that were there spectating that day, I am sure they will all agree it was a day to be forgotten and we do not feel blessed to have been part of the history that unfolded!
Onto the post match and its fair to say it was a sombre occasion – full stop.
You'll Never Walk Alone!
On a positive note have your say on your proudest moments to date as a Marauders by clicking on the link below and then double clicking on the wall to enter your comments.
The team that played – A horrible piece of history
Adam – Making negative history as captain John – Failing to turn up with his chopper and failing to enquire about the result Josh - Failing to enquire about the result
Poly – ‘Accessories’ (payable by posting pictures for the benefit of all)
Fred – It’s a Sunday people can and should fart when hung over whenever necessary!
Bolts – Failure to deliver the gloves to Fold
The Marauders Football Club