Qualifying fiasco on agenda for NZF's new CEO

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
Andy Martin
TOP MAN: New Zealand Football have unveiled Andy Martin as their new CEO.

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Incoming New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin says his first task when he starts the job will be to go over the review into the All Whites' failed World Cup campaign.

Martin was yesterday announced as the successor to interim CEO, Mark Aspden, for the top job in New Zealand.

The Englishman recently resigned as the CEO of London Irish, the English Premiership club, to take up his new role which he will start in February.

By that time the review into what sent so disastrously wrong against Mexico in the 9-3 on aggregate defeat will be complete and Martin says it will be the first piece of work he looks into.

"I'll have the independent report from the All Whites' World Cup campaign on my desk when I arrive and it's going to be pretty important that we learn from that and make some very important decisions from it going forward," Martin told Fairfax Media.

Martin said he was in the UK when the All Whites played their two games against the Central American nation and is hesitant of making any comments about what went wrong under the now departed head coach Ricki Herbert during that time.

"It is probably a question to ask me in three or four months' time," he said.

"I didn't get to see the games because they weren't broadcast in England and we had to listen in a newspaper blog.

"I'll wait and see, I want to listen to a lot of people, understand what could have been done better and make calls off the back of that."

Martin says that only after going through the review that the search for a successor for Herbert will begin.

"I get a sense that it will also be something that's on my desk when I arrive, post the review," he said.

"The review is going to inform us and the board over what direction we should be going in and therefore that will inform the personnel requirements we have going forward."

Under Martin's leadership London Irish recently completed a two-year project that led to a buy out of the club by a consortium of Irish businessmen.

While his recent background is in rugby, he says there are similarities between his old job and new one that will hold him in good stead.

"Rugby union is a junior partner to football in England," Martin said.

"So a lot of the disciplines are similar that we've had to go through over there in terms of competing with football for the general public and sponsors and all of that.

"It's something we've had to be innovative about and coming over here it's a similar set-up because we're competing with rugby and other sport.

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"But it's the big brother front and centre over here and we've got to make sure that we can put a credible alternative out, in terms of football."

Martin is a lifelong Liverpool fan, with his heroes growing up being Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish. He will return to the UK today for Christmas before sorting out the move down under in the new year.

He will be joined by his wife in New Zealand but his two children will remain in the UK at least until they complete their exams next June.

While Martin's short term goal will be to sort out the All Whites, longer term he wants to work on encouraging people to stay playing the game beyond their teen years.

"It is great to have lots of people playing at 12, 13 and 14 years of age, but you want to keep them playing into their 20s and have some of the best athletes stay in the sport," he said.

"I know from my early days playing football as a kid that you want heroes, villains and inspiration. You need to be able to look up to people and think that one day you want to do that.

"That's what is important for the All Whites and also the Phoenix as well. They have both have a role to play to be the catalyst that keeps the people in the sport."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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