The Little Corner of Yellow has stepped up its support of the Wellington Phoenix.
The New South Wales-based Phoenix fan group, led by Holly Eades and Dean Bartle, have come on board as a player partner, sponsoring women’s captain Lily Alfeld for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season.
It’s believed to be the first partnership of its kind in New Zealand sport.
“We’ve found a way that we can demonstrably show our support for the club, not just with our signs and our singing, but we can put our money where our mouth is and show support for the club even when we’re not there for 100 per cent of the time,” Bartle said.
“From my point of view it’s not about The Little Corner of Yellow. We’re not advancing ourselves as a brand or anything like that, we’re just looking to do it to support the Phoenix, the women’s team and Lily in particular.”
“We attended most of the games last season and that was really special to be involved that way,” Eades said. “We’re stoked the team is back in New Zealand, but that means that we can’t attend as many matches. So, this is a way for us to attend every home match virtually.”
‘Lily (Alfeld) is just wonderful’
The Little Corner of Yellow are the first player partners for the Phoenix women’s team and it was a simple decision for them to support Alfeld.
“Lily is just wonderful,” Eades said. “She’s a great player, a great leader and she’s been great with the fans.”
Eades and Bartle often helped the club pack down advertising hoardings after matches last season and Alfeld lent a hand in their final game.
“She’s still wearing her gear. She’s got her goalkeeper gloves on and she’s helping remove the advertising signs,” Bartle said.
“Show me any A-League men’s or women’s captain who would do that with the fans after a match. It’s the little things like that that inspired us to pick Lily.”
Meet Lily Alfeld
As the Phoenix squad prepares for the start of the new A-League season, Alfeld gives her insight on the team’s progress:
How The Little Corner of Yellow started
The Little Corner of Yellow was founded early last season, when a commentator gave them their moniker during a Phoenix men’s match at Kogarah. A banner and a Twitter account soon followed.
They were ever-present at both the men’s and women’s matches throughout the 2021-22 campaign, as both teams were forced to be based in NSW.
“We do support both teams, but I think we felt like the women needed the boost in having some passionate fans showing up, because they were new,” Eades said.
“I think only Lily had played professional football before and they were stuck down in Wollongong. It was especially important for us to demonstrate our support for them.”
“There’s a lot of female sporting heroes in New Zealand already and to see the opportunity for more to develop is very exciting,” Bartle said.
“The fact that we were able to be on board from the very beginning means Holly and I have witnessed some pretty historical moments for New Zealand women’s sport first-hand.”
While Dean Bartle and Holly Eades have opened their pockets to pay for the player partnership with Lily Alfeld, they want to acknowledge Matt Dawson and Danny Avis have also contributed to the sponsorship.