Marko Rudan explains why he shouted ‘Nix fans $878 worth of beers pre-game: ‘It was a tsunami’

Catch the highlights as Wellington Phoenix hosted Western Sydney Wanderers in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Marko Rudan was the talk of Wellington even before a ball was kicked on Saturday.

The former Phoenix boss was spotted by supporter group ‘Yellow Fever’ prior to Western Sydney’s last-gasp 2-0 defeat at Sky Stadium, having gone for a walk around Wellington’s waterfront.

‘Nix fans were left stunned as Rudan – who spent a season in charge of the club – walked into a bar full of Phoenix fans and ended up shouting $878 worth of drinks for the team’s fans on their annual pre-game pub crawl.

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“Did I expect the bill to be that much? No,” Rudan told reporters with a smile after watching his Wanderers side concede two stoppage-time goals against the ‘Nix.

“It was initially only meant to be a few hundred in the bar but the guy said well we can’t do that. So, the first lot came in and then they all came in. Before I knew it, it was a tsunami of yellow and black just coming through.”

That reply was part of an heartfelt explanation of his pre-game gesture.

“I was just going for a walk down the wharf, reminiscing, beautiful city,” he said. “Then got caught out by the Yellow Fever. I guess it’s just my way of saying thanks.

“While I was here, they were great towards me. When someone leaves and it’s the opposition, it’s normal they act a certain way. That’s okay. But, while I was there, it was my way of saying thanks. It’s Christmas in a couple of days.

“… It’s no issue for me. We live in a time now where a lot of people place certain interests in areas that I don’t think you should. We are blessed to be here. We should be grateful for everything. Human connection is something we all lost out to during COVID.

“To be able to communicate and speak, for me humanity is very, very important. That’s all it is. Ended up being what it ended up being. I think I get a free shout or a free drink tonight if I decide I want to go there from the bar manager. It wasn’t even about that. 

“Some guys ordered jagerbombs and that, and I just said stick to the beers mate. That’s it, Christmas to say thank you.”

Wellington boss Giancarlo Italiano was made aware of Rudan’s gesture and when asked if he would reciprocate afterwards, he told reporters: “No chance. I don’t have that much money.”