Mark Elrick reckons he loves a challenge and he's definitely got one on his hands here.
Better known as a Sky Television commentator these days, the 39-year old former Central United and All Whites striker is coming out of semi-retirement to try and lift the flagging fortunes of Hawke's Bay United in the New Zealand Football Championship.
A spectator at Hawke's Bay's 2-1 loss to Waitakere United on Saturday, Elrick (pictured right) approached Jonathan Gould after the match and asked if the Park Island club would be interested in his services. An agreement was reached on the spot and now the man who scored 11 goals for the All Whites is headed our way.
And not without firing a few verbal volleys first. An outspoken critic of the "robotic" footballers he sees chugging around in the NZFC, Elrick says he will bring much-needed life, personality, profile and goals to the competition.
"I've been a striker and a goalscorer all my life and creativity and goals is definitely something I think the competition is lacking," Elrick told SportToday.
"I was at Hawke's Bay's game against Waitakere on Saturday and I think there were only eight shots on goal in the entire match. Auckland have got Keryn (Jordan) and Grant (Young), who are both tried and proven strikers and obviously there's Shane (Rufer) down at Manawatu, who continually seem to unearth talented Solomon Islanders, but there's very little else.
"I just think the whole competition needs a lift and I looked at teams like Waikato and Hawke's Bay, who've battled a bit of late, and I thought I could bring a bit of leadership and experience.
"Graham Fyfe looks a good player and Leo Shin has got pace and is very good on the ball and they just need someone they can play off a bit. I just think the whole competition needs a little bit of magic.
"There's plenty of guys who'll work hard for you and they'll run, but there's no creativity."
Despite Elrick's age, Gould said he had no qualms about taking him on. Even if it does smack a little of last year's, rather desperate move, to drag Marty Akers out of semi-retirement.
"Mark's played for his country 40 times, scored 11 goals and won everything there is to win in New Zealand football. He's probably in the twilight of his career, but he's been player-coach with Onehunga Sports in Auckland for the last two years and there's no doubt that he's got the pedigree," said Gould.
"In a team like ours, with a large number of very talented youngsters, I just think we need two or three experienced heads to try and guide them along. I think he's going to be great for those young players and for the club as well.
"It's very hard for a club like ours, that's down in the provinces, to have national press and national TV coverage. But with Mark on TV all the time, who knows, we might have the Sky cameras here at a few of our home matches and that has to be good for the club."
Neither man can wait for Elrick to arrive down for his first training session, but exactly when that will be is still undecided. Officially, NZFC franchises are only able to bolster their squad during the mid-season transfer window, which would mean Elrick would not be available until the away fixture with Team Wellington on December 2.
However, Gould is in talks with New Zealand Soccer, about the chances of a dispensation, given that Elrick is not tied to any other franchise. Gould also said that the club hoped to sign two or three others players during the transfer period.