Soccer: Phoenix Seek the right man for the job

By Kris Shannon

The Wellington Phoenix have cast their net far and wide in the search to replace Ricki Herbert - including the popular employment website Seek. Photo / Getty Images.
The Wellington Phoenix have cast their net far and wide in the search to replace Ricki Herbert - including the popular employment website Seek. Photo / Getty Images.

The Wellington Phoenix have cast their net far and wide in the search to replace Ricki Herbert - including the popular employment website Seek.

An advert for the vacant head coaching position was placed on the job website this week, a move which was greeted with some amusement on social media.

It would be difficult to imagine the likes of Manchester United turning to Seek when Sir Alex Ferguson finally retires, but that is the reality for a club tucked away in the bottom corner of the world.

Coaching the Phoenix is an attractive role - even if the side will be battling to avoid the wooden spoon when they travel to Perth on Sunday - but the club have to make sure the position is seen by the right people.

One of those people is reportedly former Real Madrid striker Hugo Sanchez, with ESPNFC.com today linking the Mexican to the position. ESPN said football agent Tony Belica was representing a candidate interested in the job and they understood that person to be Sanchez, most recently of Mexican club Pachuca.

It's safe to say Sanchez didn't come across the role on Seek, but Phoenix general manager David Dome said the website was just one of a number of avenues the club were exploring to ensure they selected a suitable coach from "hundreds" of applicants.

"A lot of people go on [Seek], so we wanted to make sure there was the widest possible distribution among the market of head coaches," he said.

"Most of our applications are coming through the global sports channels. There's only been a few come through from Seek."

Those channels include GlobalSportsJobs.com, a specialist sport employment website, as well Football Federation Australia and the Professional Footballers' Association in the United Kingdom.

With the football community more tight-knit than would be expected of such a sprawling sport, the Phoenix are also relying on more old-fashioned methods like word of mouth.

"Head coach positions are fairly rare," Dome said. "The message has got out not just because of the sites we're on but because of agents, ex-players and ex-coaches who talk among themselves.

"A lot of people have come to us and said, 'I've got this friend who's in this country, he wants to submit a CV'. We're just making sure we have the best possible chance by getting to as many people as we can."

That has seen applications arrive from all over the world and from a large range of people. Dome said the club were pleased with the quality of some candidates and, after applications close next Friday, the Phoenix would take a week to compile a shortlist of 10 or 12 names before the interview process began.

Whether interim coach Chris Greenacre is among that shortlist remains to be seen. After initially expressing doubt he could manage the demands of the head coach position on a permanent basis, Greenacre this week hinted a month in the job may have changed his mind.

But whether the Phoenix would want him is another question. The Englishman hung up his boots only at the end of last season before Herbert gave him an opportunity as assistant coach, and the Phoenix are probably looking for a more experienced manager.

Greenacre does have the Phoenix playing some of their best football this season, with a win and two losses to his name before Wellington's penultimate game in Perth on Sunday night.

The Phoenix then finish a disappointing campaign at home to Melbourne Victory, needing at least four points from their final two fixtures to ensure the new coach, whoever it may be, isn't working with the reigning wooden-spooners.

- APNZ

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