|By EMMA STONEY
Wellington Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan has branded the attitude of some of the club's fans as "pathetic" and says they should focus on the long-term future of the club, not purely results.
The Phoenix are anchored to the bottom of the A-League table with just one win in their past eight games following a mid-season change in their style of play.
A switch to a more free-flowing, attacking game is part of the club's long-term plan to be one of the consistently successful clubs in the league and the outspoken Morgan, a member of the Welnix consortium, has criticised the supporters.
"People expect instant gratification or they expect gain with no pain," he told Radio Sport.
"It's just pathetic really. I can't think of any activity where you change like that and there's not a short-term cost as you go through the changes.
"We are on the road and people have just got to be a little more sophisticated in their interpretations."
Given the Phoenix's move away from their more direct, counter-attacking style – which has got them to the playoffs for the past three seasons – was in a bid to attract more fans to matches, it seems strange Morgan, a noted economist and philanthropist, is lambasting the people the owners need to get through the turnstiles.
Crowd numbers have hovered around the 5000-7000 mark for most of the season, with the club openly admitting they need 10,000 per game to break even. Coach Ricki Herbert has come under increased pressure over the lack of positive results, but he has been backed by the board.
In the interview, which aired on Thursday but was recorded prior to Saturday's 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Sydney, Morgan also accused fans of being too focused on results.
"A lot of them don't know much about the game anyway," he said. "And they certainly, in my view, think only of themselves and not of the future of the club.
"This club has got a whole lot of stuff it's got to do in order to be sustainable. We are on that road.
"Some people, all they look to do is just read the league tables and that's all there is to the game to them. Well, they are pathetic really."
He added: "If you look at the last two games, for the first half of both of those games and I'll grant you it was only the first half, the team actually played extremely well."I think the style of football that the Phoenix have been playing, when they have been good in those games, has been very attractive. I can tell that by sitting in the crowd."