Former All Whites football coach Allan Jones is taking an active role in the bid of Heartland Wairarapa (HW) to be involved in the national football league from 2013.
Jones, who lives in Tauranga, came to Masterton on Tuesday to meet HW chairman Bob Francis and board member Phil Keinzley and agreed to join the board as a technical adviser.
Having someone of Jones' calibre in their administrative team is a huge coup for Heartland Wairarapa, whose initial attempt to win national-league status earlier this year was turned down when Football New Zealand decided to stick with the status quo.
But rather than be discouraged by that decision, Heartland Wairarapa doubled their efforts to curry favour and the acquisition of Jones has to be a big boost to their chances next time around.
Before coming to New Zealand in 1979, Jones coached professionally with English clubs Bristol City, Blyth Spartans and Darlington and also had a stint in Bermuda.
It was in 1983 that Jones became coach of the All Whites and they played 40 matches under his control, winning 15, drawing nine and losing 16.
He has also coached the New Zealand women's team and assisted with various national age-group sides while, on the domestic front, he took Auckland City to three national league titles.
Indications are that Football New Zealand could decide the make-up of the 2013 national league as early as next February and, if Heartland Wairarapa are successful, they will then go about the business of appointing their coaching staff and contracting players.
While the names of players likely to be signed up are still very much the subject of debate, it is probable most of them will be part of next season's Wairarapa United Central League team.