Wellington Phoenix have signed a new coach with a “deep knowledge of European football” who will be unveiled early next month.
Phoenix general manager David Dome confirmed the news in an update sent to club members, also announcing that 15 players are already contracted for next season, with three or four more to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Dome along with the club board and key management have been searching for a new permanent head coach since Wellington were officially out of finals contention on April 8.
Ernie Merrick left as head coach in December, with Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre taking over as interim co-coaches, but Dome confirmed they’d missed out on the permanent job.
Dome, who had aimed to appoint a coach by May 31, said the new man was immersed in European football and capable of attracting “quality players” to the club.
To all our members - we've just send an important off-season update from our General Manager. Please check your email :) #COYN— Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) May 19, 2017
“We have a signed contract with our preferred candidate and pending flights and immigration we look forward to presenting our new head coach in Wellington, early June,” Dome said.
“With a deep knowledge of European football, experience of developing young talent and a wide network of scouting contacts our prospective head coach is excellently situated to attract quality players to our football club and we look forward to announcing several key signings over the months ahead.
“In the interim our new head coach has been talking to our football operations department, assessing our current squad of players and potential new signings from across Australasia and beyond.”
Dome said stability and getting the right person was keys to the head coaching appointment.
The Nix GM indicated that Buckingham and Greenacre would be retained at the club.
“Coming in amid difficult circumstances co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre performed admirably, picking up a points-per-game ratio that across a full season would have seen Phoenix qualify for their fifth finals appearance in 10 seasons,” Dome said.
“Chris and Des earned the right to interview for the top job next season and impressed the football committee with their tactical awareness and vision for the club.
“While they have been unsuccessful this time, in Des and Chris, we believe we have two of the most talented young coaches currently active in Australasia.”
Wellington have already seen Roly Bonevacia depart for Western Sydney Wanderers and Glen Moss leave for Newcastle Jets this off-season.