The Kalezic era is coming apart like the performances of the Wellington Phoenix with Darije in charge. The head coach has effectively resigned, which may be the first effective thing he’s managed all season. But even in doing so, there’s six whole games left of a team who haven’t played for their coach much continuing not to play for their coach.
Not as awkward as David Dome stating that the club actually want Kalezic gone now, but also that they don’t have a way of doing that due to contractual shenanhigans regarding a top six finish. A club that doesn’t want the manager who the players don’t want either.
There are two seasons left of the Nix’s A-League license. The decision to appoint the next coach of the Wellington Phoenix is starting to look like a make or break for the club, and when I say break I think of the NZ Knights t-shirt I have folded in a drawer somewhere.
The names on the board so far are Aurelio ‘Pissants’ Vidmar, Mark Rudan and Ramon Tribulietx. Discussion around the first two have focused on the role within the Australian international coaching structure for Vidmar, and the role in Fox Sports’ seemingly endless howl at the game of football for Rudan. Both would bring knowledge of Australian players to try and appease the morons calling for the Phoenix to be dropped from the A-League.
The Nix need a bit more than just an appointment that looks good in Australia, they need an appointment which resets the relationship the team has with New Zealand football, New Zealand Football and New Zealand in general. Will the appointment of the first Australian coach do that?
Then there’s Ramon. Not even considered for the All Whites job as he will only attain his Pro License later this year, it’s not hard to see why his name would be at the forefront of those interested in football in New Zealand. In his decade at Auckland City he’s created a machine which has seen many players come and go, but playing a consistently successful brand of football.
The counter argument is that his reliance on import players means that he would struggle in the A League. That said the Phoenix would probably have four import spots available for the 2018/19 season and a coach that has been proven to be able to find good players for those positions would be available. There’s a few Auckland City players who could have made more of the import spots than some recent occupants, to be honest with you.
One thing a Tribulietx appointment would do is take him out of New Zealand Football’s way. The Fritz Schmid/Andreas Heraf axis is Andy Martin’s new masterplan and the inconvenience of having an established NZ based coach continuing to win the continental club competition, dominate the top tier of New Zealand football and play some not bad stuff against professional outfits must be one they could do without.
The Phoenix need something different, they need a coach with a proven vision rather than one that just talks about it. Kalezic talked about playing a style of football that was never seen. Former All Whites manager and pre-season specialist Anthony Hudson talked about a style of football that was never seen. Ernie Merrick, god bless him, got tangled up in converting players and managed to lose the shape of his team in the process.
Of the three leading candidates for the Wellington Phoenix job, only one of them stands out as having the sort of consistent vision of the football he wants his teams to play. The other two, Rudan and Vidmar, well they’re good for A League politics – but the Nix need a coach, not a politician.
With Ramon Tribulietx, you know what you’re getting. A Phoenix that plays better football than it is currently. Which is what the club needs them to be doing to get people interested in New Zealand’s only professional football team. It’s Ramon time.