Former Melbourne Victory leader aims to see his new team rise from the ashes.
Wellington Phoenix announced they have appointed Ernie Merrick as their new coach, with the former Melbourne Victory mentor immediately vowing to bring a more attacking brand of football to the A-League club.
Merrick won two A-League titles during his six years with the Victory and was twice named the Australia-based competition’s coach of the year.
The Scot replaces Ricki Herbert, who departed in February after a dismal run of results that eventually saw the Phoenix finish last in the 10-team league.
Merrick said he wanted to inject “six or seven” new players into his squad and would emphasise youth development at the club, which does not have the budget of some of its Australian rivals.
He also backed the club’s quest to draw bigger crowds by playing more entertaining football, a policy which proved Herbert’s downfall when he failed to adapt his dour, defensive game plan to the new philosophy.
“Football’s about winning and putting on a show and the best show is scoring goals,” Merrick told reporters.
“Just look at my record, in six years coaching the Victory we scored more goals than any other team by miles.”
Merrick, who has signed a two-year contract with an option for a third, guided the Victory to A-League championships in 2006-07 and 2008-09, as well as a losing grand final in 2009-10.
He was sacked in 2011 and went on the coach the Hong Kong national team but lasted less than a year after reportedly falling foul of internal politics.