Chris Greenacre hopes his first coaching role will be the start of a long and fulfilling career in the job.
Greenacre, 34, was today confirmed as assistant coach at the Wellington Phoenix after a successful three-year stint as a striker with the club.
Along with goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould, Greenacre has been running pre-season training while head coach Ricki Herbert has been away with the New Zealand under-23 without a contract.
That has now been rectified with him signing a two-year deal and Greenacre is pleased his role, which will also involve being responsible for the Wellington Phoenix ‘A- team, has been formalised.
“There was never a real problem about a contract. I just wanted to make sure I got things right,” Greenacre said.
“A coaching contract was obviously a first for me and it is completely different to a player-s.
“I can reel a player-s contract off by heart, but I needed to go through this one with my agent who has looked after some high profile coaches in England.
“Now it is all settled I can-t wait for the season to get going.”
Giving up playing wasn-t easy for Greenacre who entered football as a Manchester City apprentice aged 16.
“You never want to hang up your boots; you think you can play for ever. But it comes to a point where you have to be realistic and look at where your next options are,” he said.
“Retiring from playing has probably come a bit earlier than I hoped but this opportunity might not have been on the table in a year-s time.
“Maybe I could have played another couple of years, and I had offers from two Australian A-League clubs to do so, but in the end I had to look to the future.
“Ricki spoke to me some time ago and offered me the assistant coach position and I am grateful to him and the owners for the opportunity.
“It is a great chance to establish myself as a coach with an elite group of players and it is a bonus that I can do it at this football club.”
It isn-t always easy to make the transition from player to coach at the same club, but Greenacre doesn-t envisage any problem.
“Gouldy and myself hit it off from the start and have many of the same coaching ideals,” he said.
“I get a bit of stick from the players but I wouldn-t have it any other way.
“They understand what I-m going through. Away from the pitch we are still good friends but when it is time to come to work they know what it means.
“On the odd occasion I-ve had to raise my voice they have responded in a positive manner and have given me the respect they would give any other coach.
“With Ricki being away it has been full on for Gouldy and myself but it means I haven-t had time to think about not playing.”