Martin in no rush to appoint All Whites coach

TOP MAN: New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin.
TOP MAN: New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin.

Five weeks into the job and New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin is still waiting for the most important document to cross his desk.

The Englishman started work last month expecting to be greeted with a report reviewing the All Whites' failed World Cup campaign, which ended at the hands of Mexico in November.

But things slowed down over summer and the independent report, penned by former New Zealand Rugby Union general counsel Stephen Cottrell, is now due next month.

While a touch frustrated by the delay, Martin, the former boss of London Irish rugby club, is confident the reading will be worth the wait.

The search for Ricki Herbert's coaching successor has been put on hold until the review has been completed, then digested.

"It would be wrong to jump to conclusions and to start to move forward with an All Whites coach appointment until we've really got to the bottom of what was good and what was bad previously," Martin said.

"Because we have got a little bit of time, we're fortunate to be able to make the right selection. I'm confident we're going to get a clean report in terms of what's happening, which is good. And my job is to make sure that any changes I'm thinking of are aligned to what's coming out of that. One of the big issues is around player welfare. You need to make sure that when they turn up to play, they're in the best possible shape. That's critical and I'm keen to see how well we've done in the past."

Neil Emblen was the interim coach for the All Whites' 4-2 loss to Japan in Tokyo earlier this month while champion Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx has put his hand up for the job.

But Martin said NZF would also advertise extensively internationally.

"There's been a lot of people putting their hand up already, both publicly and privately. So I'm pretty confident it's going to be a popular job for us to select from."

Martin, a Liverpool fan, is NZF's fourth chief executive in six years.

He has spent his first five weeks pressing flesh, watching local football and will meet with Phoenix bosses in Wellington this weekend.

Martin has been encouraged by the desire of football people to increase the profile of their sport.

"The most important thing is we need to create some heroes in football in this country. We need to have characters and individuals that the grassroots can be inspired by and want to be. We've got some fabulous athletes, both male and female, in football, who perhaps aren't as high profile as they should be. That's going to be a big theme for what you see going forward."

Martin would love to see a second A-League team based in New Zealand and says there need to be clearer high performance pathways for aspiring players: from grassroots, to national league, to Phoenix to All Whites.

He also recognises the need for the All Whites to play more games on home soil, despite the often prohibitive travel costs.

Without counting coaching and high performance personnel, Martin has inherited a fulltime staff list of about 20, which is likely to increase.

"It's probably fair to say that we need to strengthen our management team. I think the criticism that has been pointed at New Zealand Football over many years has been [a lack of] consistency, co-ordination and leadership. We just need to make sure that we've got a stable and robust team of high quality so that they can deliver what we need to deliver."

Fairfax Media