Ricki Herbert quits Phoenix post

Then All White Ricki Herbert after setting up a Grant Turner goal in a World Cup qualifying match with Saudi Arabia in 1981.
Then All White Ricki Herbert after setting up a Grant Turner goal in a World Cup qualifying match with Saudi Arabia in 1981.
Then All White Ricki Herbert heads the ball in a 1981 World Cup qualifying match with Kuwait.
Then All White Ricki Herbert heads the ball in a 1981 World Cup qualifying match with Kuwait.
Ricki Herbert, left, and Grant Turner, right, watch as Steve Sumner shoots during a World Cup qualifying match with Saudi Arabia in 1981.
Ricki Herbert, left, and Grant Turner, right, watch as Steve Sumner shoots during a World Cup qualifying match with Saudi Arabia in 1981.
 Ricki Herbert assisting All Whites goalkeeper Frank van Hattum in their 1982 World Cup game against Brazil.
Ricki Herbert assisting All Whites goalkeeper Frank van Hattum in their 1982 World Cup game against Brazil.
Ricki Herbert admires the FIFA World Cup trophy in 2010. While the All Whites did not win the cup, they were the only team to not lose a game.
Ricki Herbert admires the FIFA World Cup trophy in 2010. While the All Whites did not win the cup, they were the only team to not lose a game.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert celebrates after they won their World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain in 2009.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert celebrates after they won their World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain in 2009.
Ricki Herbert at the unveiling of his puppet at the Backbencher Pub in 2010.
Ricki Herbert at the unveiling of his puppet at the Backbencher Pub in 2010.
Ricki Herbert gives instructions to the Wellington Phoenix in 2007.
Ricki Herbert gives instructions to the Wellington Phoenix in 2007.
Ricki Herbert meeting David Beckham in 2007.
Ricki Herbert meeting David Beckham in 2007.
A 2009 biography.
A 2009 biography.
Ricki Herbert in 2007, just after being named coach of the Wellington Phoenix.
Ricki Herbert in 2007, just after being named coach of the Wellington Phoenix.
 Ricki Herbert as a superhero Wellington Pheonix coach, for a front cover in 2007.
Ricki Herbert as a superhero Wellington Pheonix coach, for a front cover in 2007.
Ricki Herbert as New Zealand Under 23 coach in 2004.
Ricki Herbert as New Zealand Under 23 coach in 2004.
Ricki Herbert, left, with player David Mulligan, and All Whites' coach Mick Waitt, in 2004.
Ricki Herbert, left, with player David Mulligan, and All Whites' coach Mick Waitt, in 2004.
Ricki Herbert as All White and Soccer NZ coaching development officer in 2004.
Ricki Herbert as All White and Soccer NZ coaching development officer in 2004.

Ricki Herbert has quit his job as the Wellington Phoenix's coach, saying he wants to focus on the All Whites.

After much speculation the club said this morning it had accepted Herbert's resignation and he had been offered an advisory role.

Herbert said he wanted to focus on his international duties with the All Whites in a busy World Cup qualification year.

He believed the time was right for a change at the club and to take on new challenges.

"The results this year have not been what anyone would have wanted and I felt that it was time for someone else to take a fresh look at things at the club," Herbert said.

"The coaching staff and players have all put in a huge effort this year but we haven't got the results we wanted.

"I've had a long and very successful tenure at the club and will always be proud of what I have achieved. But all good things must come to an end and it's time for new coaching blood and for me to move on to new and exciting challenges."

Assistant coaches Chris Greenacre and Jonathan Gould were expected to take the helm for the rest of the season.

He had a two-year option on "football related" matters - ie a director of football role - at the conclusion of his contract this season with some reports suggesting he will assume such a role.

Former New Zealand football captain Danny Hay said Herbert's departure was "inevitable" and the silver lining could be more time for him to concentrate on getting the All Whites through to the next World Cup.

Hay, a Fairfax football columnist with English Premier League experience, has been strong critic and was not surprised to hear his time in charge at the club was to come to an end.

"It's bamboozled me that he has stayed in the job so long given the mediocrity of the results. It was inevitable," Hay said.

"The writing was on the wall when the owners came out and raised questions publicly over the style of football that was being played.

"They were asking - or forcing - Ricki to change his style of coaching. The [possession] game they were seeking isn't a strength of him or his players."

Hay hoped the situation would allow Herbert to concentrate on the All Whites, who are poised to win the Oceania World Cup qualifying series, before facing a difficult home and away assignment against a Central American, North American or Caribbean country to secure a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"I don't think it was humanly possible to do both jobs properly, especially now with so many of our top players in different parts of the world," Hay said.

"And a coach of professional club [like the Phoenix] is a 24-7 job, 12 months of the year."

As for the next coach of the Phoenix, Hay said the key was not to rush into a decision.

"They need to cast the net far and wide because it is an attractive job."

If the club was serious about its commitment to playing attractive football - and the signing of former A-League MVP Carlos Hernandez pointed to that - they would have to find the coach to implement that.

"They need to find a proven exponent of that style of football," Hay said.

HERBERT'S REIGN

Herbert has been in charge of the A-League club since its inaugural season in 2007/2008, but this year has seen much angst with the club's new owners wanting a new style of play. 

They were last and sixth of eight teams in the first two seasons but made the play-offs for three consecutive years leading into this season, which has been undoubtedly their worst.

They are currently last of 10 teams and have lacked spark and imagination all season, with many pundits calling for Herbert to go.

Last month Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan said Herbert would be the coach for the rest of this season and next, though chairman Rob Morrison later said Herbert would undergo a full review at the end of the season before any decisions were made on the 2013/14 season.

RICKI HERBERT: A TIMELINE

ON THE WAY OUT? Ricki Herbert has reportedly tendered his resignation as coach of the Wellington Phoenix.
ON THE WAY OUT? Ricki Herbert has reportedly tendered his resignation as coach of the Wellington Phoenix.


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TRAIN ON: The Wellington Phoenix at training, led by Chris Greenacre.
TRAIN ON: The Wellington Phoenix at training, led by Chris Greenacre.

Comment: Resignation right for Phoenix

Fans react to Herbert's resignation

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