Oceania’s only professional football team is looking for a leader to turn their season around after Ernie Merrick stepped down from his position as head coach of Wellington Phoenix FC.
The two-time A-League champion felt that with recent results he had taken the team as far as he could.
“I take full responsibility for the position the team is currently in,” he said.
“I feel that I have not performed well enough as head coach, as we have a very strong squad that should be higher up the table.
“It’s therefore the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to take over. We have a run of home games coming up and I think this will give my successor the best opportunity to take the team forward.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Wellington Phoenix for the past three years and particularly Welnix, the Chairman and the board who have been nothing but supportive during this time.”
Merrick has played a valuable part in the development of Oceania players throughout his three years with the Phoenix, giving opportunities to a lot of up-and-coming footballers.
His attendance at the 2015 OFC U-17 Championship in Samoa showed his interest in the development of young players from New Zealand, and the wider Oceania region. It was also eye opening for the players taking part in the event as they saw a tangible pathway into professional football.
In 2014, Merrick gave one of the team’s foreign player slots to Roy Krishna, making him Fiji’s first professional footballer.
Wellington Phoenix FC will now undergo a thorough process to appoint a new head coach. Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham have been appointed as joint-interim head coaches during this process.