With Ernie Merrick’s departure the big question in New Zealand is who will be his replacement, here I look at some of the rumoured candidates (my rating of each of the managers’ suitability for the role are in brackets):
Frank Farina (5/10)
Experienced and at Brisbane showed he is willing to put his faith in youth but dour is the word to best describe some of the teams he has managed. Would likely solve some of the problems affecting the current Phoenix team but long term he would have to be very successful for the fans to accept his style of play.
Mark Rudan (8/10)
The favourite and another who is used to developing young players, he is the currently working with the Australian Under 20s. Lacks top flight managerial experience but was successful in the Australian lower leagues. His lack of managerial experience may be seen as a negative but can also be seen as a positive as he would likely jump at the chance to manage in the A-League.
Chris Greenacre (4/10)
Has been assistant coach to both of the previous Phoenix managers as well as finishing his career with the Nix and therefore knows the club well. This familiarity may be a hindrance though if the board wants to make a clean break with previous regimes
Ramon Tribulietx (7/10)
Easily the most successful coach on the list, who else can say they have guided their club to third place in the World Club Championship? He knows the New Zealand game inside and out due to his time managing Auckland City and his appointment would show his fellow Stirling Sports Premiership coaches that there is a pathway into the bigger leagues.
Neil Emblen (6/10)
Another who is well versed in New Zealand football as he is assistant head coach for the All Whites. Would be a long shot but his time at Waitakere United proved he can be successful.
Ross Aloisi (3/10)
Assistant manager at the Brisbane Roar he would be another long shot who probably only makes this list because of his time captaining the Phoenix in their debut A-League season.
Ricki Herbert (6.5/10)
Would appointing Herbert be a step backwards? Easily the Phoenix’s most successful coach he has proven he knows how to be successful in the A-League and will know how New Zealand football works from his time as the All Whites coach. Could be considered a safe pair of hands but how often does a successful coach returning to his old club work out?