Ernie Merrick is gone at the Nix.
After three seasons at the club the two time A-League championship winning coach has decided it’s best if he steps aside after yet another disappointing start to a season. The Nix have so far only recorded two wins from their opening eight games.
It appears the loss to Adelaide was the final straw for Merrick. The 2-0 defeat moved the Nix back to the bottom of the A-League table a third of the way through the regular season.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday Merrick acknowledged that the team should be in a far better position,
“I take full responsibility for position the team is currently in. I feel that I have not performed well enough as Head Coach, as we have a very strong squad that should be higher up the table.”
Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham have been appointed as interim coaches while the club goes through the appointment process, although neither of them are likely to get the full time gig. It’s looking like it will be a quick process with the club having already announced their plans to appoint someone to the roll by Christmas.
Admittedly I was caught off guard with Ernie’s decision to resign. Obviously I knew the team was struggling (everyone does), however I and many others assumed Merrick would be at the helm at least until the back end of the season. If things were still not good then I could understand a parting of ways but to leave this early surprised me.
The leading candidate for the vacant position appears to be Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx. Although currently only coaching at the amateur level, he has achieved some incredible results with Auckland including the 3rd place finish at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup. Ramon’s appointment would be well received by the majority of fans.
This weekend’s match against the Mariners now becomes incredibly important for the Nix. Not only are they desperate to get off the bottom of the ladder but they will also want to show fans and media that they are not a lost cause this season, despite the resignation of their coach.
The Mariners are one of only two teams that the Nix have recorded a win over this season, beating them back in round six in Canberra. They will head into this match as favourites despite the departure of Merrick.
This will be the first home match of the season to be taken away from Wellington as the team heads to Hamilton. As always, the need for a decent crowd will be a focus but more importantly is the need for three points. It will be interesting to see how Greenacre and Buckingham set the team up now that they have control.
With some very winnable matches over the next few weeks there is still a chance for the Nix to make something of this season. But it must start this week with a win.
So get behind the boys. They need your support now more than ever.