Hope springs eternal for New Zealand Football.

After a period of unprecedented drama and chaos since the middle of last year, with the exit of Andy Martin and Andreas Heraf followed by the sudden resignation of Fritz Schmid as All Whites coach in June, the appointment of Danny Hay to the top men's job yesterday felt like the beginning of a new chapter.

Only time will tell how successful it could be but one succinct sentence summed up part of Hay's appeal and why he might have been chosen.

"It's massive for me," said Hay of landing the job. "For me, it is the pinnacle, not a stepping stone on to something bigger or better. This is something that I am genuinely passionate about."


Though NZF chief executive Andrew Pragnell insisted they had an "open mind" entering the process, the chances of appointing someone without local experience within the game here were remote.

Anthony Hudson made no bones about the fact he viewed the All Whites position as a rung on the ladder, and NZF were burnt when he left for Colorado with several of his staff.

Schmid's appointment was strange on many levels, and didn't make much sense, and that model was never going to be repeated.

From 178 applications, and a shortlist of four, Pragnell labelled Hay the "outstanding candidate" for his "passion, pride and maturity", and admitted they were looking for someone with skin in the game, who will stay in the organisation.

Hay's appointment wasn't exactly a surprise, as his name had been all over the football grapevine since Schmid's departure, though Pragnell insisted the recruitment process was rigorous and robust.

It's a steep rise for Hay, who had never been a head coach in senior men's football until he linked with Eastern Suburbs ahead of the 2017-18 ISPS Handa Premiership season.

"My name was chucked around a few years ago and I don't think I was ready then," admitted Hay.

"I needed to go into a senior men's environment and keep evolving and developing as a coach, and prove to myself and other people that I was capable of that."


Eastern Suburbs' national premiership win last season helped his cause and other factors in his favour were two World Cup cycles with the national under-17 team in 2015 and 2017, which gave him knowledge of the player base coming through.

His status as a former All Whites captain — he wore the jersey through 11 years and 31 internationals — was also a big factor, and there were immediate comparisons made with the Ricki Herbert era.

Like Hudson at his first press conference, Hay promised a new, exciting style of play for New Zealand.

"We have evolved and developed the type of player we are producing and we can be far more attack minded and far more creative, particularly in the attacking third," said Hay.

"It's about giving them the freedom and licence to express themselves at times, which I don't think has come to the fore as much as it could have in the last few years."

Hay will face a steep learning curve, given his relevant lack of time in the dugout, but he is confident in his ability and takes a more holistic view.

"I took two cycles of the under-17s," said Hay.

"You are just dealing with an older group. As long as the communication is clear and the process has integrity, it doesn't matter if it is international football at under-17 level, or senior football.

"And having played for the All Whites as long as I did, and been part of that environment, I understand international football.

"I understand the culture. I understand what it is like to be a professional player and come back into that environment and what drives you to really want to be a part of that.

"So I think I have got far more strings to the bow than just looking at 'only coached in senior football for a couple of years'."