Ricki Herbert feared for job after drubbing

00:34, Feb 27 2013
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert as All White and Soccer NZ coaching development officer in 2004.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert assisting All Whites goalkeeper Frank van Hattum in their 1982 World Cup game against Brazil.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert as New Zealand Under 23 coach in 2004.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert, left, with player David Mulligan, and All Whites' coach Mick Waitt, in 2004.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert as a superhero Wellington Pheonix coach, for a front cover in 2007.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert in 2007, just after being named coach of the Wellington Phoenix.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert meeting David Beckham in 2007.
Ricki Herbert through the years
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert celebrates after they won their World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain in 2009.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Then All White Ricki Herbert after setting up a Grant Turner goal in a World Cup qualifying match with Saudi Arabia in 1981.
Ricki Herbert through the years
A 2009 biography.
Ricki Herbert through the years
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 through the years
Ricki Herbert gives instructions to the Wellington Phoenix in 2007.
Ricki Herbert through the years
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 through the years
Then All White Ricki Herbert heads the ball in a 1981 World Cup qualifying match with Kuwait.
Ricki Herbert through the years
Ricki Herbert at the unveiling of his puppet at the Backbencher Pub in 2010.

Ricki Herbert was already cutting his ties with Wellington before he quit as coach of the Phoenix.

The resignation of the A-League's longest-serving coach was announced by the club yesterday, though it was not made clear to what extent he jumped or was pushed.

The Dominion Post understands his future was formally discussed at a meeting among the Phoenix hierarchy a fortnight ago - after the team's 5-0 drubbing by the Central Coast Mariners - and Herbert had feared for his job since.

Herbert
ALL OVER FOR RICKI: Ricki Herbert has resigned as coach of the Wellington Phoenix.

He is already in the process of selling houses he owns in Evans Bay and Paraparaumu.

Phoenix general manager David Dome dismissed reports linking the club's management with Herbert's resignation, though he admitted the subject may have been broached.

"There are board meetings and there are sub-committees within the board that have regular meetings all the time. And at one of those meetings - there is a coaching committee, for example - they may have discussed it.

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"[But] put it this way, certainly I'm not aware of that if that meeting occurred. There was never an ultimatum put in front of [him].

"Ricki came into the office [on Monday] and met with [club chairman] Rob Morrison and myself and tendered his resignation at that time. Ricki has been under pressure and he's felt the pressure of results," he said.

Herbert will take on an advisory role within the club next season, and his assistant Chris Greenacre will coach for the season's five remaining matches.

Herbert did not return calls yesterday, but said in a statement that he wanted to focus his attention on the All Whites. He has split his time between the Phoenix and the national team since the creation of the Phoenix in 2007.

"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," he said.

"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 . . ."

Former Phoenix owner Terry Serepisos, who appointed Herbert to the job in 2007, said the loss of Herbert was one of a series of disappointments the club had endured under its new owners.

He would not comment on whether Herbert was pushed, but said: "I'll tell you one thing, whatever the board decisions they've made this year, they're terrible . . . They have taken [the club] back to the Stone Age.

"It's not the boys' fault. It all starts from above . . . [and] I don't think it's all Ricki's fault. The way the club is run . . . It's run quite poorly, actually. It is disappointing because the Phoenix was like a child to me - it was born, it was created by myself and Ricki.

"So basically [now] you're looking at a little child and it's not being brought up right . . . The guys that have got it at the moment don't have any idea . . . Gareth Morgan obviously knows nothing about football."

The Phoenix play the Newcastle Jets tonight at Westpac Stadium, but there will be no official send-off for Herbert. "It was put to Ricki, whether he wanted us to do something," Mr Dome said. "But he felt he didn't want to distract the players or Chris Greenacre by turning up to the game."

The Dominion Post