Phoenix back to square one (again)

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Darije Kalezic has stepped down from his woeful tenure as Wellington Phoenix head coach with former striker Chris Greenacre shifting into the caretaker role for the third time in the club’s history.

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In a Phoenix statement earlier in the week it was announced that Kalezic would depart the club at season’s end, but the Swiss coach has since revealed he would be stepping down from the role effective immediately.

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“Since the club and I weren’t able to find mutual agreement on how to proceed in the future, my professional belief is that the next coach should be provided with the opportunity to lead the team for the remaining of the season in order to have enough time to create his opinion about current squad and his own action plan on how to proceed in the season to come,” he said.

It comes as little surprise that Kalezic sought to cut ties with the hapless Phoenix, his first year at the helm saw the club emerge with just four wins and twelve losses whilst planted firmly at the bottom of the ladder since round seven.

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Kalezic was the final casualty in a Wellington Phoenix campaign which bore the departures of several valued players including Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler and Dario Vidosic who all jumped the sinking ship to join other A-League teams.

The departure of Kalezic leaves the door open for a permanent top job replacement at the Nix, but for the time being the outfit will be under the familiar interim care of Chris Greenacre.

Greenacre, who made 84 appearances as a striker for the club, has twice before filled the caretaker role during the rotations of Ricki Herbert and Ernie Merrick as head coach. Greenacre was appointed to assistant coach under Merrick during the 2013/14 A-League season and from there moved into coaching roles for the Phoenix reserve and academy teams.

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Interestingly the only factor keeping Greenacre from being officially appointed head coach during these movements was due to Football Federation Australia regulations: Greenacre held an A License while fellow coach Des Buckingham held a Pro Licence, and was therefore given the lead role.

With six games remaining Wellington Phoenix have little to salvage this season; however the outfit and its supporters can obtain some comfort in Greenacre’s commitment to the club and its campaign to rebuild for the 2017/18 season.

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Rowan McClatchey
Rowan McClatchey
Bachelor of Journalism student from the University of Wollongong, covering Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2017/18 season.

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