Tribal Football - Football News, Soccer News, Transfers & Rumours Latest Articles for Wellington Phoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/clubs/wellington-phoenix Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:07:41 +1000 http://www.tribalfootball.com/images/tribal-logo-rss.png Tribal Football http://www.tribalfootball.com <![CDATA[Exclusive: Newcastle hero Taylor predicts imminent Longstaff breakthrough]]> <p>Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has singled out praise for young Magpies striker Sean Longstaff for his performances and potential shown with Blackpool last season.</p><p>Taylor played in League One with Peterborough United during the 2017-18 season, getting a good look at Blackpool's loanee in the process. </p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-newcastle-hero-taylor-predicts-imminent-longstaff-breakthrough-4258295?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has singled out praise for young Magpies striker Sean Longstaff for his performances and potential shown with Blackpool last season.

Taylor played in League One with Peterborough United during the 2017-18 season, getting a good look at Blackpool's loanee in the process.

The 21-year-old scored 8 goals in 42 league appearances while on loan from Newcastle, and Taylor was impressed with his efforts.

"He had a great season with Blackpool and it shows in the way he plays. He's got an eye for goal and he scored a couple of screamers last season," Taylor said in an exclusive interview with TribalFootball.com.

"He's training and playing with quality players, he's getting some great experience and he shows his class. Hopefully he keeps it up and he'll break into the squad soon."

Taylor's comments come at a time when the FA are looking to cut down the foreign player quota in order to promote the development of homegrown players and help deal with issues arising from Brexit.

The Chronicle reported last week that Longstaff was being scouted by both the Scottish FA and Irish FA.

Both associations were investigating whether Longstaff qualified for either country.

However, the Newcastle native does not have any family connections with either country and only qualifies for England at international level.

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-newcastle-hero-taylor-predicts-imminent-longstaff-breakthrough-4258295?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-newcastle-hero-taylor-predicts-imminent-longstaff-breakthrough-4258295?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Mon, 26 Nov 2018 22:55:41 +1100 Chris Sermeno
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Greenacre confident New Zealand can achieve success]]> <p>Chris Greenacre suggests that New Zealand have as much possibility to establish themselves in world football as any other nation.</p><p>The Wellington Phoenix assistant coach has firmly cemented himself as a stable of coaching in New Zealand, having served the A-League club since 2012 as well as being an assistant for New Zealand's U-20 World Cup campaign next year. </p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-greenacre-confident-new-zealand-can-achieve-success-4257666?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Chris Greenacre suggests that New Zealand have as much possibility to establish themselves in world football as any other nation.

The Wellington Phoenix assistant coach has firmly cemented himself as a stable of coaching in New Zealand, having served the A-League club since 2012 as well as being an assistant for New Zealand's U-20 World Cup campaign next year.

Greenacre says that there's plenty of potential for New Zealand to break barriers and progress further in world football both collectively and individually. With several national players already based in Europe, Greenacre reveals it's a matter of mentality as opposed to talent for the next generation of footballers to break through.

"Honestly there's a huge amount of potential here," Greenacre told TribalFootball.com. "The biggest thing is trying to get their head around the dog eat dog world out there, the process here is not the top level of football out there.

"They have to to perform at their best and they cannot take a day off. With that mentality there's a much better opportunity to succeed, and there's no reason they can't succeed.

"In Europe you're never guaranteed to be first on team sheet, and if you're not at your best there's a conveyor belt of people, anywhere from 50-60 players internally and externally, just ready to take your place."

Despite having played most of his senior football in England, Greenacre is satisfied with his coaching career in New Zealand and says there's a unique element to being a coach in the nation's footballing landscape.

"I'm quite happy developing here as a coach. It's a rather turbulent time in England, opportunities for coaching and development are a lot less. To be learning in a professional environment and being only pro club in this country is really special.

"I've got no plans to return, I'm just trying to help develop the next wave of footballers here and do my part to contribute to New Zealand football."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-greenacre-confident-new-zealand-can-achieve-success-4257666?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-greenacre-confident-new-zealand-can-achieve-success-4257666?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Thu, 22 Nov 2018 05:57:09 +1100 Chris Sermeno
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Man City always backed their youngsters, says Greenacre]]> <p>Many football fans know Manchester City as a powerhouse of English football, and whose riches and influence reach further than just the elite of the Premier League. </p><p>Backed by Sheikh Mansour and Al Mubarak's City Football Group, the Sky Blues have seen their success kick off sister clubs and takeovers of other clubs around the world, truly cementing themselves as a worldly power.</p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-man-city-always-encouraged-young-players-says-academy-product-greenacre-4256722?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Many football fans know Manchester City as a powerhouse of English football, and whose riches and influence reach further than just the elite of the Premier League.

Backed by Sheikh Mansour and Al Mubarak's City Football Group, the Sky Blues have seen their success kick off sister clubs and takeovers of other clubs around the world, truly cementing themselves as a worldly power.

However, few of today's younger fanatics won't know of City's rich history, and I don't mean financially.

It's the club's more humble background before the City Football Group's takeover, and no one knows Manchester City's roots like Chris Greenacre.

Having been at City from the age of 13 until he was 21, Greenacre was at City during his youth years before signing with Mansfield on the back of a successful loan with the Stags. Greenacre says that City have always shown a commitment to youth development even to this day.

"Before the new management came in, it already had a good youth program. In a squad of 18 players, there were a lot of young boys including myself who were in a first team environment and being treated no differently than the senior players. We were very lucky to be making a living from football at that age.

"Obviously it's been such a huge change, it's on another level how much they've revamped the club and the level of investment that has taken place. I haven't been back to City, but when I was there we were still at Maine Road, the new stadium is world class and I couldn't have imagined it like that when I was a young lad."

Greenacre proved his point by praising English young gun Phil Foden, who has begun breaking into the City first team in the last two years.

In 2017, Foden won the U-17 World Cup, the Golden Ball and made the Team of the Tournament. He was also involved with Manchester City's Premier League and EFL Cup successes of the 2017-18 season.

"I think he's fantastic, it's absolutely phenomenal when young players like Phil get through to the first team of such big clubs in top tier leagues, it shows the quality and perseverance despite the millions that can be invested.

"Top level coaches can buy who they like at a whim and it costs ridiculous amounts of money, so for Phil to break through that and make some appearances for City just goes to show there's plenty of untapped, home grown talent out there."

Chris Greenacre finished out his playing days with the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League before becoming an assistant coach, but has great memories of his time at City and can appreciate what the club has become.

"I look back on my time very fondly. It's something I'm very proud of, I had signed on school boy forms and I was very fortunate to have been there until I was 21. I got to represent that great club."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-man-city-always-encouraged-young-players-says-academy-product-greenacre-4256722?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-man-city-always-encouraged-young-players-says-academy-product-greenacre-4256722?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:37:03 +1100 Chris Sermeno
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Clem Morfuni using Swindon board role to fix 'pathetic' Australian pathway]]> <p>Clem Morfuni wants to use his platform as Swindon Town non-executive vice-chairman to fix what he describes as a "pathetic" pathway for Australian kids to play professional football.</p><p>The Sydney native is the founder of Axis Group, a multi-national building services contractor that was involved in the construction of new Wembley and the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium.</p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-clem-morfuni-using-swindon-board-role-to-fix-pathetic-australian-pathway-4252836?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Clem Morfuni wants to use his platform as Swindon Town non-executive vice-chairman to fix what he describes as a "pathetic" pathway for Australian kids to play professional football.

The Sydney native is the founder of Axis Group, a multi-national building services contractor that was involved in the construction of new Wembley and the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Morfuni has sponsored the League Two club since 2015 and was handed a position on the board by owner Lee Power in July last year.

Australian businesses have begun to make their mark in English football recently, with a consortium reportedly favourites to purchase League One club Charlton Athletic.

Speaking to Tribal Football, Morfuni says he plans to use his own standing at Swindon to provide new opportunities for aspiring footballers in Australia.

"We've employed a talent scout who is coming out to Australia in November," revealed Morfuni.

"So we're looking for kids and we want to develop a pathway for kids in Australia to go to English and European football and the best way to have it is to have someone in that level that can pull a proper pathway for kids because I think the pathway in Australia is pathetic.

"And now that people know that I'm Swindon vice-chairman. And there's a couple of other things that I'm trying to do that I can't really announce yet. But we're trying to get that pathway where we're generating really good kids from Australia who can go and play football."

Morfuni does not state whether the idea would evolve in the form of an academy or direct trials at Swindon, but his argument that Australia needs a different platform for their young footballers is a strong one.

The A-League, which commenced in 2005, is one of the few professional domestic leagues in world football that does not have a relegation system.

The National Premier League (NPL), competitions that are based in each Australian state, and the subsequent state leagues, essentially serve as the equivalent to the English football pyramid for Australian football, with the A-League at its apex.

Over the past two seasons, however, only seven players have been recruited from NPL competitions who were under 23, Australian and had no previous A-League experience.

Despite the league expanding to twelve franchises in 2019/2020, Morfuni argues that A-League clubs have no interest in developing youth.

"No disrespect to the A-League, I've been involved in the A-League. But there is no pathway. They just want to win their competition," Morfuni continued.

"They've got a lot of older players in that league and there is probably 10,000 Australian kids that want to play football and the A-League has 10 teams and none of these young kids have an opportunity to get in.

"Hopefully this works so there might be an opportunity for our national league to get even better.

"It's good for Australia because it gives us an opportunity and I'm over there enough to be heavily involved in it."

Morfuni's plans for young Australian footballers makes up a small fraction of his work at Swindon.

Due to his vast experience in the construction industry, Morfuni has become an instrumental figure in negotiations over a proposed purchase of the club's 122-year-old stadium, the County Ground.

Swindon hopes they can buy the 15,728 capacity stadium off the local council and split the ownership 50-50 with two supporter groups, Trust STFC and STFC Supporters Club.

The stadium purchase has long been a topic of debate in Swindon, but Morfuni believes it will pay off in the long-term as Town aims to climb the rungs of the Football League.

"The football club started in 1879 so there's a lot of passion there. We've been in the Premier League before in 1993/94. We were up there for one season but we've been hovering around League One and League Two in the Football League.

"There's absolutely a lot of passion. It doesn't matter what club you support in English football, there's always passion over there. We're in League Two at the moment and we're trying to get promotion.

"We think we should be a Championship club. There's a big enough catchment, I think if we develop the ground it will be a lot better we'll get better income outside the pitch so we can put more money inside the pitch so that's what we're trying to do.

"Lee Power and I have been talking about it making it and that's our goal. To get them in the Championship minimum."

It wouldn't be the first time Swindon find themselves in the upper echelon of British football. The town might be famous for its railway history, but many nostalgic football fans will remember their ill-fated and solitary Premier League season in 1993/94.

Player-manager Glenn Hoddle departed for Chelsea before the season and the Robins would eventually finish bottom with five wins from 42 games.

Significant investment would be needed for a top-flight return, but given the emergence of other smaller clubs in recent years, such as Bournemouth, Brighton and Huddersfield, Morfuni hasn't given up hope.

"I always say we'd love to be in the top-flight but to be in the top-flight you need a couple of hundred million quid.

"If we can get in the Championship it'll be an accomplishment especially if we can purchase the ground with the supporters groups, it will be a good feat.

"You never know, you might get one freak season where you'll get in the Premier League. You got to think eight years ago, Brighton were in our division. But it's going to take time."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-clem-morfuni-using-swindon-board-role-to-fix-pathetic-australian-pathway-4252836?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-clem-morfuni-using-swindon-board-role-to-fix-pathetic-australian-pathway-4252836?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Tue, 16 Oct 2018 21:18:44 +1100 Andrew Maclean
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Steven Taylor explains unique Newcastle support amid Ashley protests]]> <p>Newcastle United fans are renowned for being some of the most passionate and boisterous fans in England and are known for their tenacity and loyalty to the club. You don't have to look very far to realise how much they truly love their football.</p><p>Most recently, the relationship between Mike Ashley and Newcastle supporters has grown to a new level of animosity, as the Geordie faithful continue to protest Ashley's ownership ahead of matches hosted at St James' Park. </p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-steven-taylor-explains-unique-newcastle-support-amid-ashley-protests-4250929?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Newcastle United fans are renowned for being some of the most passionate and boisterous fans in England and are known for their tenacity and loyalty to the club. You don't have to look very far to realise how much they truly love their football.

Most recently, the relationship between Mike Ashley and Newcastle supporters has grown to a new level of animosity, as the Geordie faithful continue to protest Ashley's ownership ahead of matches hosted at St James' Park.

Former Magpies captain Steven Taylor has told Tribalfootball that it's not an easy feat playing in front of Newcastle's dedicated supporters. He says it takes a strong character to be a Toon player, and some just aren't cut out for the football-centralised mentality of day to day living.

"You need to be prepared mentally more than anything," said Taylor in an exclusive interview with Tribalfootball.

"I was in the dressing room with top class European players who just couldn't handle the scrutiny of St James'. If you didn't give 100%, you would hear about it and the fans would give it to you. If you didn't like it, there was the door.

"Over the years I had my odds with the fans over some of my performances as well, but I stuck around, I worked hard, and that's what they appreciate."

Taylor, now preparing for his first season in the A-League with Wellington Phoenix, also revealed that Newcastle has a unique footballing culture like no other, with some dedicating their entire lives to football.

"I've been to some magnificent stadiums in my career, but nothing compares to the North East, Newcastle is a city that eats, drinks and sleeps football. If you lose a game, it's the stuff that could cause divorces. You get drilled at an early age how important it is, especially the derby games. Without a doubt they're the toughest supporters to play in front of."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-steven-taylor-explains-unique-newcastle-support-amid-ashley-protests-4250929?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-steven-taylor-explains-unique-newcastle-support-amid-ashley-protests-4250929?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Wed, 03 Oct 2018 02:24:40 +1000 Chris Sermeno
<![CDATA[Steven Taylor Exclusive: I left Newcastle for success not sunshine]]> <p>I was full of butterflies ahead of my chat with the legendary Steven Taylor. A man who spent two decades at Newcastle, and who is the definition of professionalism and dedication to his craft in every sense.</p><p>In hindsight, it was probably a good thing he didn't answer the first couple of times I rang. I wouldn't have uttered a question with any sort of coherence. After a bit of composure on my part and rescheduling, we were finally introduced and got stuck into talking about his latest venture into the A-League with his current club, Wellington Phoenix. </p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/steven-taylor-exclusive-i-left-newcastle-for-success-not-sunshine-4247365?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> I was full of butterflies ahead of my chat with the legendary Steven Taylor. A man who spent two decades at Newcastle, and who is the definition of professionalism and dedication to his craft in every sense.

In hindsight, it was probably a good thing he didn't answer the first couple of times I rang. I wouldn't have uttered a question with any sort of coherence. After a bit of composure on my part and rescheduling, we were finally introduced and got stuck into talking about his latest venture into the A-League with his current club, Wellington Phoenix.

In terms of a playing environment, the A-League is a relative unknown for some in the UK and Europe. Australia and New Zealand are certainly fantastic places to holiday, to enjoy the local culture and all it has to offer. Realistically, it's simply too far from home or family to warrant a playing stint in Australia's top flight.

Not for Steven Taylor, who is willing to give football his all no matter where it takes him.

"The A-League has been growing a lot in the last 5 years or so, you just have to look at the types of players and marquees they're attracting to see that," says Taylor, in an exclusive interview with Tribalfootball.

"There's plenty of English people who would love the chance to play in Australia, but they don't want to take the leap due to family commitments and they don't want to play too far from home."



Most people around the world would be daunted by the prospect of picking up and moving halfway across the globe, regardless of your field of work or study, or even just travelling. Culture shock, language barriers and no sense of direction are just a few things that people come up with as to reasons why not. For Steven nothing can get in the way of a new career experience, so long as he can get out on the pitch and do what he does best.

"I don't have that sort of family commitment, I'm just excited to play and keep going forward. There's also a winning mentality here, anyone can beat anyone on any given day, and it makes for a competitive league. That's something that wet my lips and I knew I wanted to be a part of that."

Steven admits he's blessed to be a professional footballer, and he's willing to give it everything until his body gives up, because his mind will not. Having been toughened up and shaped by the Geordie way of life (football, of course) he doesn't treat Wellington any differently to playing in front of the Toon Army.

"I'm focused on the football, it's what I love. Whether it's Newcastle, Wellington or wherever I am it's always an honour to put on the shirt and go out there doing what I love, I'm a very lucky lad. I just want to put my best foot forward and help the club win. I know the fans were fairly disappointed with the way the season went last season, so I just want to see us succeed and win."



Even after enduring an underwhelming season and uncertainty about their long-term future in the A-League, Wellington was a destination that stood out to Steven for several reasons. He reveals that his relationship with the manager, Mark Rudan, got off to a flying start from the beginning, and says there are things he has seen that remind him of the early days in his career.

"I'd spoken to him a few times over the phone, the best thing about him is that he was a defender himself, and there's a lot we can relate to. He'd had success winning the league as a player with Sydney, so he knows what it takes to win.

"I've been learning from his experience which has been great, and he's created an atmosphere where the squad comes into training hungry for success and pushing for more and it reminds me of when I was a young lad with that hunger and drive to succeed."

Of course, I had to try and prod the question if he had considered coaching. At 32 years old, you could forgive some for questioning whether he would consider retiring, going through some ridiculous highs and lows throughout his career. But when you chat to a man who refuses to quit, you're only going to get one answer.



"It's something I'd love to do, but definitely not anytime soon. I'd been offered player-coach roles at a few clubs once I'd left Newcastle, but it wasn't something that interested me at that point. After having played 52 games last year with Peterborough I got a whole lot of confidence in myself to keep playing. As a player all you want is to play, I've still got plenty of drive and I feel good."

The former Newcastle skipper's approach to his career is quite probably one of the few these days driven by loyalty and a hard work ethic. Qualities such as those aren't common when certain careers are driven by ridiculous sums of money, the limelight or lavish endorsement deals.

The generational differences aren't always evident until you speak to someone of the ilk such as Steven Taylor. He's been there and done that, he's seen success, he's experienced failure, and everything that goes with it along the way. For him, there's simply no substitute for hard work and a solid playing group with the same mindset.

"A lot of football has come away from that winning mentality and wanting to succeed as a club. A lot of younger players are focused on themselves, and they're club hoppers. They're not always willing to stick it out at a club and find the next best option."

"Mark's created an atmosphere that we're all smiling coming into the training ground, working hard, spurring each other to keep going forward and getting stronger. It's a great environment and a good team spirit that's being built, and hopefully we'll be able to do some great things this season."

Steven will begin his season with Wellington Phoenix as they take on Grand Finalists Newcastle Jets on October 21.

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/steven-taylor-exclusive-i-left-newcastle-for-success-not-sunshine-4247365?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/steven-taylor-exclusive-i-left-newcastle-for-success-not-sunshine-4247365?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Thu, 06 Sep 2018 20:53:13 +1000 Chris Sermeno
<![CDATA[DONE DEAL: Ex-Newcastle defender Stephen Taylor joins Wellington Phoenix]]> <p>Former Newcastle United defender Stephen Taylor is moving abroad.</p><p>Taylor has joined New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix.</p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/done-deal-ex-newcastle-defender-stephen-taylor-joins-wellington-phoenix-4239322?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Former Newcastle United defender Stephen Taylor is moving abroad.

Taylor has joined New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix.

He was unveiled at the Westpac Stadium with manager Mark Rudan delighted with the signing.

Steven is a significant signing for the football club in what we are trying to create," said Rudan.

He brings a huge amount of experience and strong leadership."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/done-deal-ex-newcastle-defender-stephen-taylor-joins-wellington-phoenix-4239322?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/done-deal-ex-newcastle-defender-stephen-taylor-joins-wellington-phoenix-4239322?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Tue, 10 Jul 2018 19:57:07 +1000 Paul Vegas
<![CDATA[The Arnie Effect: How the Socceroos have already been influenced by their new manager]]> <p>COMMENT: Just a little over a month ago Australian football supporters were desperately clamouring for the announcement of a new Socceroos head coach, hoping for some sort of relief after the stresses of Australia's marathon qualification campaign and Ange Postecoglou's subsequent resignation. Fast forward to today and we've seen not just one Socceroos coaching announcements, but two.<br></p><p>It's a case of what's old is new again, as Graham Arnold was confirmed as the man who will lead the Socceroos following the conclusion of the upcoming World Cup in Russia. He will continue to coach his hugely successful Sydney FC side until the end of the current A-League campaign, after which he will take over from Bert Van Marwijk and assume control of the top job in Australian football for a second time in his career.</p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/the-arnie-effect-how-the-socceroos-have-already-been-influenced-by-their-new-manager-4224417?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> COMMENT: Just a little over a month ago Australian football supporters were desperately clamouring for the announcement of a new Socceroos head coach, hoping for some sort of relief after the stresses of Australia's marathon qualification campaign and Ange Postecoglou's subsequent resignation. Fast forward to today and we've seen not just one Socceroos coaching announcements, but two.

It's a case of what's old is new again, as Graham Arnold was confirmed as the man who will lead the Socceroos following the conclusion of the upcoming World Cup in Russia. He will continue to coach his hugely successful Sydney FC side until the end of the current A-League campaign, after which he will take over from Bert Van Marwijk and assume control of the top job in Australian football for a second time in his career.

The announcement saw a wide range of varying reactions from football fans, with comments on Facebook and Twitter criticising the appointment, citing Arnold's past failures as Australian coach and his Sydney side's recent poor performances in Asia.

It is true that Sydney FC's Asian Champions League performances over the last month have been sub-standard, but it is not the last month that Arnold should be judged on when deciding whether he is cut out for the Socceroos job.

This is an appointment that has been earned not throughout the last few weeks, but throughout the last ten years of hard work, sacrifice, and positive influence on the game in Australia.

Arnold's influence on domestic football in the last decade cannot be understated, and his influence on the national side in that last decade has been immense and wholly positive. The Socceroos have been benefitting off Arnold's work in football for years now, so why not give him a chance to reap some of what he has sowed.

In 2007, over a decade ago, an inexperienced Arnold saw his underwhelming one year run as manager of the Australian national team come to an end.

The decision came following an incredibly disappointing Asian Cup performance, in which Australia could only manage one win in four games, and were eliminated by Japan in their first knockout game.

After a few more years working as an assistant for the national side, Arnold once again tried his hand at managing a senior team, as he was appointed as manager of the Central Coast Mariners in early 2010.

The Central Coast Mariners of the time were a largely uninspired side, having finished in 8th position in their previous season, only one point clear of bottom place. Graham Arnold stepped in and their rise up the table was swift and sudden.

In just his first season at the Mariners, Arnold had raised the club up to 2nd place on the table, and took the club to the Grand Final of that year. While they were cruelly denied their first A-League Championship by two late Brisbane Roar goals and a penalty shootout loss, it wouldn't be long before the club, and Arnold, got their own back. After another devastating penalty shootout loss in the Preliminary Final of the following season, the Mariners finally went on to win their first Grand Final in the 2012/2013 season, cementing their spot as a top side in Australia, and cementing Graham Arnold's reputation as one of the most formidable coaches the domestic league had ever seen.

While his early domestic success was apparent to the eye, what was a little less obvious was the quiet work he was doing in building the next generation of Socceroos. The ones that would lead us to World Cup qualification nearly a decade on. No matter where you look on a Socceroos pitch these days, you are almost guaranteed to find a player who got their start, or had their career immensely helped by Arnold.

One of these players is Tom Rogic. Rogic was full of potential and had raw ability. Anyone watching him play during his early Mariners days could see he was destined for a career abroad, and it is down to Arnold that he was given a platform to shine.

Rogic only played 24 games for Central Coast. That was all it took until Europe came knocking. Celtic ended up winning his signature, and Rogic has plied his trade for the Scottish powerhouse ever since.

The 24 games he played are testament to how quickly and effectively Arnold was able to integrate youth into his team. He made his debut for the national team while with Central Coast, and has now played more games for Australia than he did for the Mariners. Had Arnold not signed him and given him an opportunity to showcase his raw talent to the world, he may not be in the position he is today . Rogic is one of Australia's most important creative players, and will be immensely important to Australia's World Cup aspirations.

Another of these young players the new Socceroos gaffer uncovered was Trent Sainsbury, who at the time of Arnold's appointment was a teenager trying to get his foot in the door. It took a while for Sainsbury to break into the side, but by the time the Mariners' Grand Final triumph came around, the still extraordinarily young 21-year-old centre-back had solidified his spot in the team.

Along with Dutch veteran Patrick Zwaanswijk, he formed one of the most impressive defensive duos the league has ever seen. From there his career has gone from strength to strength, his debut for the national side coming not too long afterwards.

His first major tournament in the green and gold was in the 2015 Asian Cup. This was when Sainsbury truly came into his own, being named in the team of the tournament, taking home the Man of the Match award in the final, and of course receiving a winner's medal.

He has since played in the Netherlands and Switzerland, and has even featured once for Inter Milan during a short stint in Italy. The 18-year-old doing his best to impress Arnold at the Mariners has certainly grown a lot in recent years, but that comes as no surprise to anyone who saw his growth under Arnold and his performances at such a young age for his club.

The tremendously talented defender will now put the talent he showed so early on in his career on display on the world stage, as he is a certain pick for the squad for the 2018 World Cup.

It must also be remembered that in his championship season at Central Coast, the club conceded less than a goal a game. While this is thanks in part to Sainsbury's hard work, the work of another young Australian in goals certainly helped.

That future Socceroo between the sticks for the Mariners was Mat Ryan, who is perhaps the most important of all of the players Arnold handed opportunities to.

Ryan was 18 years of age when given his chance to play by Arnold, and it was certainly not a safe choice by the Central Coast gaffer to persist with him. Being so young, Ryan had his fair share of bad mistakes and errors in his starting days at the club. Any young goalkeeper thrust into the starting position of a top A-League club would make these errors of course, but to Arnold's credit he persisted with Ryan, and was not tempted to look elsewhere for a more experienced campaigner.

Each game Ryan played, his confidence grew, and before long he was undoubtedly first choice. Ryan played three seasons with the Mariners under Arnold, leaving after the Grand Final win in 2013. He was a revelation for the Mariners, and in playing him so often not only was Arnold benefitting his own Central Coast team, but he was also giving vital experience to the man who would go on to wear the gloves for the national team.

Ryan went on to star in Belgium, and after a frustrating stint with Valencia in Spain, he finally settled at newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion in England.

It's fair to say that the now 25-year-old would not be undoubtedly first choice at a Premier League club and the number one goalkeeper in two consecutive World Cup campaigns for his country had his former coach not persisted with him when he was just getting his start.

Even only recently, Ryan spoke out about how even today he still is helped by Graham Arnold, who got in touch with him to help settle his nerves after his move to the Premier League. The Arnold influence on the two-time Belgian Pro League Goalkeeper of the Year award winner is apparent even today, and Australian football is better off for it.

If these three players didn't get their first opportunity in football, the Socceroos would likely be watching the World Cup from home. It is Graham Arnold that is to be thanked for that.

In addition to the huge role he played in getting the careers of those three crucial Socceroos up and running, he also further influenced the national squad in his time at the Mariners by giving opportunities to Mustafa Amini and Bernie Ibini while they were both young and extremely raw talents, as well as supporting the careers of Alex Wilkinson and Oliver Bozanic. All of these players have spent the last few years around Socceroos squads.

Aspects of Arnold's later stint as manager of Sydney FC have some questioning whether he has the skills to be the national team manager, and there are some valid criticisms that can be made.

No players from Sydney FC went to the Under 23 championships at the beginning of the year, which goes to show that there has been much less emphasis on youth for Arnold compared to his tenure at Central Coast Mariners.

One change he has made over time is putting more focus on getting his choices on overseas players exactly right, which he has certainly achieved with the success of Ninkovic, Bobo, and Mierzejewski at Sydney FC.

While his lack of focus on youth may leave some wanting more, it can't be ignored that despite his methods, Arnold has built the most fearsome and formidable side in Australian football history. Despite what might be perceived as a lack of focus on young Australian players, there is still a handy picking of players who have lined up for Sydney FC in the last few years that have improved tenfold under Arnold, and now find themselves potentially ready for Russia.

He has played a huge hand in the career resurgences in Joshua Brillante and Danny Vukovic, the latter especially looking like a completely reborn player under Arnold compared to his previous season at Melbourne Victory.

Both will be very much in contention for a spot in Russia. More notably, Alex Gersbach and Matthew Jurman both earned moves overseas after impressing under Arnold, and both will be pushing for a spot in the starting 11 during the World Cup.

Even when perceived as not focusing on Australian talent to the same extent as he had previously, he has still shown he is able to help nurture the ability of multiple gifted players, and get them ready for national duty. Although some of his Sydney FC projects may not have stuck around for long, the fact that they are all so close to a spot in the final 23 man squad for the World Cup goes to show that Arnold has got a great eye for talent. That's an outstanding trait for a national team manager to have.

There are of course also question marks flying around about his form in the Asian Champions League. In response, it's important to remember that this job has been earned by Arnold over ten years, not three games.

While Sydney FC's ACL campaign this season has started off badly, it is worth remembering that in 2016 he finished top of a group with incredibly difficult opponents from Japan, South Korea, and China.

Those opponents were Urawa Red Diamonds, Pohang Steelers, and current Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande respectively. While they were then knocked out in the Round of 16, it was only due to a last minute away goal. This campaign alone is more than enough to suggest that Arnold is capable of holding his own against tougher opposition.

To those who look at his last stint as Australia manager as an indicator of his ability, know that Arnold is not the same man he was after leaving the Socceroos job a decade ago. He has spent that time winning trophies, growing the domestic league, and uncovering some of the greatest talents this country have ever seen. He's an Australian coach with an already established in-depth knowledge of local players. FFA's preference for a long term Australian manager was always clear, and there is no more qualified Australian for this job.

To those worried about the effect Arnold will have on the Australian team, try to stress less. The 54-year-old has been having an effect on this team for years, and it has been absolutely positive.

While some may argue he's not the right man to take over the Socceroos after their World Cup campaign is over, it is clear that without Graham Arnold, there would not be an Socceroos World Cup campaign to begin with. This is an opportunity he has earned.

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/the-arnie-effect-how-the-socceroos-have-already-been-influenced-by-their-new-manager-4224417?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/the-arnie-effect-how-the-socceroos-have-already-been-influenced-by-their-new-manager-4224417?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:49:00 +1100 Brodie Cowburn
<![CDATA[‚ÄčAustralia appoint Graham Arnold as post-World Cup manager]]> <p>Graham Arnold will become manager of the Australian national team after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.<br></p><p>This will mark the Sydney FC manager's second spell in charge of the Socceroos after he held the role for a year after Guus Hiddink stepped down after the 2006 World Cup in Germany. </p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/australia-appoint-graham-arnold-as-post-world-cup-manager-4222901?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> Graham Arnold will become manager of the Australian national team after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

This will mark the Sydney FC manager's second spell in charge of the Socceroos after he held the role for a year after Guus Hiddink stepped down after the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Former Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk, who famously guided the Oranje to the final of the 2010 World Cup, takes charge of Australia for the 2018 World Cup on a short-term contract after former manager Ange Postecoglu shockingly resigned after guiding the nation to 2018 World Cup qualification.

"It is a very great honour to coach your national team," said Arnold, who scored 19 goals in 56 as a player for Australia in the 1980s and 90s.

"It's a job I have always been interested in doing and I believe the timing is perfect for me.

"After today I won't be saying any more about the Socceroos until after the World Cup out of respect for Sydney FC and out of respect for Bert van Marwijk.

"I said at the time that I thought he was a great appointment to lead the Socceroos in Russia and everything he has done since has reinforced that view.

"I won't be getting under his feet but I will be cheering him and the team on from the stands."

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/australia-appoint-graham-arnold-as-post-world-cup-manager-4222901?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/australia-appoint-graham-arnold-as-post-world-cup-manager-4222901?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Thu, 08 Mar 2018 22:40:58 +1100 Eshlin Vedan
<![CDATA[EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Melb Victory star Archie Thompson talks Neymar's 5-a-side tournament]]> <p>The 2018 'Neymar Jr's Five' tournament is a unique competition offering footballers all across Australia, and the world, a chance at one of the most lucrative prizes in sport today. Players across the globe will battle it out for a chance to meet Paris Saint-Germain and Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr. in his own home town.<br></p><p>Former Melbourne Victory Striker and Socceroo Archie Thompson is the ambassador for the event, and says that the opportunity to meet the Brazilian superstar is too good to turn down.</p><a href='https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-ex-melb-victory-star-archie-thompson-talks-neymar-s-5-a-side-tournament-4219642?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix'>Read more on Tribal Football</a> The 2018 'Neymar Jr's Five' tournament is a unique competition offering footballers all across Australia, and the world, a chance at one of the most lucrative prizes in sport today. Players across the globe will battle it out for a chance to meet Paris Saint-Germain and Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr. in his own home town.

Former Melbourne Victory Striker and Socceroo Archie Thompson is the ambassador for the event, and says that the opportunity to meet the Brazilian superstar is too good to turn down.

"The Neymar 5s tournament is a great opportunity to get your mates together and do your best to progress through qualification, and maybe you'll get a chance to go to Brazil and meet the great man himself," said Thompson.

"It's great because it gives kids and adults a taste of what it was like for him growing up, lots of Brazilian and South American players would have had to start their careers playing football on the streets, so this concept comes from that. It's so exciting and unique."

In addition to his duties as an ambassador, a role he also held last year, Thompson will be taking things a step further this year and will also be pulling on the boots. He will be entering his own side into the competition for a chance to win the grand prize.

"Last year I was told what it was about, what the format was, and what the opportunity was at the end of it. It's full of opportunity and I had to get involved, it can open so many doors and that's why I liked it," Thompson said.

"I'll be putting a team in this year as well. It's great to talk about it and watch it like I did last year, but I really wanted to put a team together this year and I can't wait to be a part of it. I'd love to get another chance to meet the man too, last time we met they beat us so I want to go back and make things right."

Thompson and Neymar faced off in during an international friendly in 2013, when Neymar's Brazil outclassed Australia 6-0. Neymar, then 21 years old and fresh off a move to Barcelona, scored one and assisted one goal during that game.

The first round of local games in the Neymar Jr's Five tournament will take place at several locations around Australia across Victoria, NSW, WA, SA, ACT, Queensland, and Tasmania. Each state will also be hosting a Women's tournament, a first for the competition this year. As these teams advance from the early rounds they'll face off against other quality opponents from interstate, and then abroad, for a chance at the grand prize.

The tournament is offered to men and women between 16 and 25 years of age, with each team allowed two overage players in their side. The competition is designed so that anyone can sign up and have a go, regardless of experience or skill level.

"This is for anyone who loves their football and wants to try something unique with their mates. It's so much fun, and it's a great chance to play other people, other countries, and also who doesn't want to meet Neymar? It'll be a tough road to get there, but if you're up for the challenge and up to compete, this is a tournament for everyone," Thompson said.

The games are played under special 5 a side rules where each time a team scores, the opposition loses a player. Games are played to a 10-minute time limit, or until the opposition team has been entirely eliminated.

Qualifiers in Australia begin in Sydney on the 18th of February, and will take place until the 29th of March.

More information on dates, locations, and how to get involved can be found at www.neymarjrsfive.com/en/AU

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https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-ex-melb-victory-star-archie-thompson-talks-neymar-s-5-a-side-tournament-4219642?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/exclusive-ex-melb-victory-star-archie-thompson-talks-neymar-s-5-a-side-tournament-4219642?utm_source%3Dmediafed%26utm_medium%3Drss-feed%26utm_campaign%3DFeed-Latest%2BArticles%2Bfor%2BWellington%2BPhoenix Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:44:57 +1100 Brodie Cowburn