Football: Wellington Phoenix players insist there is no culture problem after Chloe Knott exit

Senior Wellington Phoenix players insist the club does not have a culture problem, despite comments from former midfielder Chole Knott, who shocked fans when she walked away from the club last week.   

Both Knott and the club initially cited financial difficulties as the main reason for her departure, but the player also took to social media, claiming their respective values also no longer aligned.

Veteran goalkeeper Rylee Foster and captain Annalie Longo have since defended Wellington, with Foster insisting her experience at the Phoenix is better than when she played for European clubs.   

Annalise Longo leads Wellington Phoenix onto the field.
Annalise Longo leads Wellington Phoenix onto the field. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I’ve played at the top level, I've played at Liverpool, I've played with Celtic and I’ve experienced some of the top of the top, and the stuff that is going on here is better than what I experienced there.

"There are not many clubs that can compete with the facilities and the staff, and the type of style we are playing." 

Longo is also taken aback by the comments, saying there is "absolutely not" a culture problem within the team.  

"It's a bit of a shock for us to find out the letter that got put out by Chloe and it's never nice to hear."  

Longo and Foster admit pay is a challenge, but agree it is a league-wide issue, rather than the fault of the Phoenix.  

"Yes, I know wages could be higher and that's like any female in any industry, it's not just a Phoenix issue it's an A-League issue,.

"It's a league that’s developing and there is time for investment."

Both Wellington Phoenix women and men have made terrific starts to their new A-Leauge seasons. The women are currently third on the table, while the men are undefeated atop the leauge after six rounds.  

The club recently completed a rare clean sweep of the A-League's monthly awards, with Foster and men's keeper Alex Paulsen snagging player honours, and first-time head coaches Paul Temple and Giancarlo Italiano winning coach honours for their respective leagues.