There’s something about Ricki


Ricki Herbert must be wondering if he somehow broke a mirror then kicked a black cat that crossed his path while he walked under a ladder.

Ricki Herbert must be wondering if he somehow broke a mirror then kicked a black cat that crossed his path while he walked under a ladder.

Getting locked out of his own offices in the preseason by administrators intent on recouping losses from a bankrupt owner is clearly not an ideal start, but when it takes your team 14 hours to fly from New Zealand to the Gold Coast for the first away match, surely that-s an indicator that if Lady Luck hasn-t deserted you already, she-s certainly at the airport ready to board.

Adding to the trials and tribulations for Wellington, an injury to key man Paul Ifill on the weekend sees him join five others on the Nix-s injury list, and ensures Physio Wayne Roberts remains the busiest man at the club.

To top it all off, Nick Ward and Tim Brown saw red in the latter part of the match, and although Ward’s card has seen been overturned, Herbert himself may still need to consider pulling on the boots for the exhausting trip across the Nullabor to face a firing Glory outfit on Sunday.

Yet through it all, Ricki soldiers on, even managing a joke for the media post-game.

Just getting on with things seems to be the way for a man we have seen take an often unfancied side through to successive finals series in the A-League, and at international level guide his country through an undefeated World Cup campaign.

Or perhaps he is a philosophical man and focuses on the positives.
Despite their litany of woes, the Nix sit outright third on the table, and have seen the ball in the back of the net three times – yes, it-s very early days but there are other sides wishing they could say the same.

Added to this, the Wellington kit boasts a returning shirt sponsor in Sony unlike the blank expanse on their sky blue counterparts; and in Ricki the club has a steady and experienced hand at the helm, something denied the Jets at the 11th hour.

For the first home match a crowd of 7623 was at Westpac Stadium, despite a major International event in another code being on the same night – almost double the bodies on hand when the Phoenix played on the Gold Coast in week 1.

Even more promising is that when the Victory come to town later this month the curtain will have fallen on the rugby World Cup circus so the first visit of Harry Kewell, along with the return of Marcos Rojas to the Cake Tin, should see that number boosted substantially.

Finally, the team (yes, more through accident than design), is a settled one and while sides with the cash to splash in the off-season are still familiarising, most of this side – at least what is left at present – are well-used to playing together.

As long as he can field a team, there is no discounting the things that Ricki Herbert can achieve, and thus far he has done it all very much against the odds.

However, fans of the Harry Potter series know that the magical creature that is the Phoenix, cyclically combusts in a ball of fire then rises reborn from the flames.

While Wellington-s Phoenix has anything but crashed and burned thus far, the good luck part of their cycle must be due to kick in. It will be interesting to see if they deal with good fortune as adeptly as adversity.