THREE All Whites, a rising young talent and an experienced Briton have all pledged their ongoing allegiance to the Wellington Phoenix beyond this season.
New Zealand internationals Tim Brown and Ben Sigmund have each signed on for another two years, while All Whites keeper Mark Paston – the hero of New Zealand-s unbeaten World Cup campaign – will play on with the Phoenix for at least one more season. Young Australian striker Mirjan Pavlovic has extended his contract by another two seasons and British marksman Chris Greenacre will remain in the capital till at least the end of the Phoenix-s 2011/12 campaign.
For Greenacre the move from England to Wellington last year has been a highlight of an impressive career and he is thrilled to extend his stay in the New Zealand capital.
“I-m absolutely delighted. It-s great to know where you future lies and thankfully it-s here in Wellington. I-ve loved every minute of being here. It-s a fantastically well-run club. The playing group is so tight-knit and I-m thankful (club owner) Terry Serepisos and (coach) Ricki Herbert want me to remain part of that.”
The former Tranmere Rovers striker said Wellington was perfect for him both on and off the field.
“The coaching staff is amazing. The first time I spoke to Ricki I knew he was the coach I wanted to play for. What he brings to the club is second to none. I want to be a coach myself when I finish playing and the things I-ve learned from Ricki have been hugely beneficial to me.
“And (assistant coaches) Luciano Trani and Jonathan Gould also deserve massive recognition – they do a huge amount of work behind the scenes. As a player you want the best coaching there is and we-re fortunate at the Phoenix to have that.
“Ever since I came to Wellington everyone has been fantastic, making my wife and I feel welcome. The response of the Wellington public has been absolutely overwhelming and that-s another big factor that influenced our decision to stay here.”
The 32-year-old has gained a fine reputation for his professionalism and work ethic. While he-s “not getting any younger”, Greenacre still has plenty to offer the Phoenix.
“My preparation away from the field has required some changes as I-ve got older. I-ve always said that while my body-s in working order and I feel I can make a 100 per cent contribution to the team then I want to play as long as I can. Perhaps I can even finish my career here at the Phoenix.
“In the meantime I want to stay part of it because I love the game. I-m still in pretty good nick and the medical staff does a great job.”
Herbert said the re-signing of the five players was excellent for the club.
“As we found in the third season, stability is the key to success. I-m delighted we-ve been able to retain these players.”
Phoenix players now contracted beyond the current season are: Mark Paston, Manny Muscat, Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, Paul Ifill, Chris Greenacre, Daniel Cortes, Mirjan Pavlovic, Vince Lia, Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante.