Wolves player coaching at World Cup Finals

Former Wolves defender Ricki Herbert has taken his team – New Zealand – to the World Cup finals in South Africa. Herbert played for Wolves as a central defender for one and a half season and was drafted by Tommy Docherty.

As a child I’d always had aspirations to try and come and play football in England and the contact with Tommy gave me my chance. I was delighted to be able to come to Wolves. Coming across from the other side of the world was a major challenge but Wolves were a team with a really good history in the game.

Although the club’s fortunes weren’t brilliant during my time there, on a personal level it was a great experience and one I will always treasure. I still keep in touch with John Humphreys and Tommy Langley from my time as a player, and also speak on the telephone with club secretary Richard Skirrow following one of my visits back. I might be a very long way away but I still follow Wolves results and was delighted to see them promoted to the Premier League.

I actually came back to watch some training a few years back when Dave Jones was manager and John Ward his assistant. They had lunch with me when it used to be at the tennis club and were very helpful. As I say it wasn’t a great time for the club but I still remember some good people there and hope they can consolidate in the top division.

Ricki is the head coach of the New Zealand team and is obviously delighted – as is the country as a whole – about competing at the highest level.

The reaction has been huge because it’s been 27 years since we were last at this stage. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get there but the response to the success has been amazing. We had a full house of 35,000 for the second leg and the whole country has got right behind it.

There is a perception of New Zealand being a mainly rugby country and obviously there’s a special culture linked to the All Blacks and all the success they have had. But up to the age of maybe 13 or 14 football is the biggest participation sport in the country and going to the World Cup can only help in that respect. The profile will really increase and it will also be good financially and for a multitude of other reasons. New Zealand is very much a country which prides itself on its sporting prowess and this is a great chance for our footballers to go and compete on a world stage.

At the World cup in Spain – the last time New Zealand won their ticket to a Wold Cup final – Rickie Herbert was one of the players. It was a couple of years before he was drafted to Wolves.

When I played in the tournament in 1982 I was a young player at 21. It was a fantastic experience and something I’ll never forget. It’s great to now have this chance to go out and coach at a Finals as well and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s certainly going to be a very proud moment in my life.

Well. Then we probably will have three Wolves players at the World Cup finals in South Africa to cheer on. But I’m afraid that the New Zealand teams chances are very slim to go through from the group play as Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia are the teams to beat in their group. But you never know. Kiwi’s are known to put in a real fight.

Ricki Herbert about the New Zealand draw:

The quality of Italy speaks for itself -they are defending world champions. Slovakia and Paraguay are two big obstacles, two sides very different from New Zealand, but we can look forward with some confidence. It will be good to take on some of the world’s top teams.

We played Brazil in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup, did well against Italy in a friendly and also took on Spain in the Confederations Cup. Those sort of games are always a big challenge but it’s good for us and one we are looking forward to. Now the draw has taken place it will be great to get the planning ball rolling and look at the teams we’ll face and at which venues.”

Paddytheflea Wishes Ricki Herbert and the New Zealand team good luck at the World Cup finals. I will watch and cheer!

The New Zealand Team – They certainly looks very well trained  anyway! And expect their bonding excersises to be a little bit different to ours. Not tongue in cheek

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~ by paddytheflea on December 7, 2009.

2 Responses to “Wolves player coaching at World Cup Finals”

  1. good on you paddy keep supporting ricki he will help the club out in some one or another in the future, he has a lot to offer, in different ways.

    • He seem to be a very good guy! I like him. And a very smart coach. He is really getting the best out of his team! I wouldn’t be surprised if they will go through to the next round. Hard working lads and they give away nothing.

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