Paul Thompson at The Press writes:
I have seen some horrible things on a football training field – punches and tantrums thrown, nasty episodes of bullying and grown men in tears.
But most chilling of all was the photograph of Gareth Morgan taking part in a Wellington Phoenix practice last week.
Morgan is a brilliant economist and generous philanthropist and deserves praise for investing cash in the Phoenix.
But he doesn’t belong anywhere near the training pitch. Whatever he is trying to achieve isn’t working. His meddling is damaging the team he part owns.
Ownership gives him and his Welnix partners the right to do whatever they like with their club. But that doesn’t mean that those are the right things to do.
The Phoenix are in full-blown crisis. The coach has been emasculated by owners who have issued a directive on how the Phoenix should play despite having no knowledge of the game. The players are confused and fearful for their future. The tactics are all over the place.
The team is now bottom of the league and, worse, is displaying a level of incompetence that strongly suggests that is where it belongs.
Harsh, but not unfair. The best tea owners are silent ones!
You have to feel sorry for Herbert who, despite having a good coaching record in the A-League, has been rendered powerless to impose tactics that will get results.
He is compliant with the owners’ wishes because he clearly has little option but to publicly support their whims. He is clearly held in such low regard that, despite being the football expert, he is not running the show.
This season is looming as a train wreck. There appears to be a willingness to sacrifice short-term results – otherwise known as winning – for an ephemeral, long-term pipe dream.
But winning matters to the fans and it certainly matters to the players as well, who look shell-shocked to find themselves in such a parlous position.
It is time to allow Herbert to get on with the job he is paid to do and should be accountable for – to put out a winning side and then to build on that over time.
There’s an old saying – winning isn’t everything, but losing isn’t anything!