The Wellington Phoenix has confirmed it has accepted Ricki Herbert’s resignation, but say they didn’t see it coming.
Herbert resigned from his position as head coach Monday morning, saying he needed to focus on his international duties.
He has since been offered, and accepted, the position of technical football advisor with the A-League football side.
Speaking at a media conference today, Phoenix chief executive Dave Dome said Herbert had “felt the pressure” and wanted to focus on the All Whites.
“We didn’t see it coming, but he is an honourable man,” he said.
“Ricki wants to take some time off and spend time with his family.”
Dome said the coaching position was to be reviewed at the end of the year anyway, but the club will now cast a net wide.
Current assistant coach Chris Greenacre will temporarily take over the coaching responsibilities until the end of the 2013 season, but says he is “far too young” to take over the role of head coach permanently.
“As a young coach, I want to progress but I’m far too young and have far too much to learn,” he said.
Greenacre says the players are in shock and the majority only found out this morning.
“It is just another hurdle and it has been a funny old year,” he said.
“Ricki has left a brilliant legacy.”
In a statement released to media, Herbert acknowledged the club’s performance has been sub-par.
"The results this year have not been what anyone would have wanted and I felt that it was time for someone else to take a fresh look at things at the club,” he says.
“I’ve had a long and very successful tenure at the club and will always be proud of what I have achieved. But all good things must come to an end and it’s time for new coaching blood and for me to move on to new and exciting challenges.”
Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison says the club is pleased Herbert will stay on in an advisory role.
“While the board accepted Ricki’s resignation we were keen to ensure that his knowledge and expertise was not lost to the club,” says Morrison.
“Ricki has an unparalleled record in the Hyundai A-League. Without his contribution the Phoenix could not have had the success it has had.”
Herbert has been head coach at the Phoenix since the club was established in 2007.