9 May 2017

Former Phoenix coach signs with Newcastle

11:53 am on 9 May 2017

The former Wellington Phoenix football coach Ernie Merrick has been confirmed as coach of the Newcastle Jets for the next two A-League seasons.

Merrick had been a frontrunner for the Jets role since Mark Jones was sacked last month, one year into a two-year deal.

The 64-year-old will join the Jets as one of the A-League's most experienced and decorated coaches.

During 241 A-League games, Merrick won the 2007 and 2009 titles with A-League heavyweights Melbourne Victory.

Ernie Merrick has resigned as Wellington Phoenix head coach.

Former Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick. Photo: Photosport

He coached the Wellington Phoenix between 2013-2016, taking them to the 2015 finals series before stepping down eight games into the 2016-17 season.

The Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said Merrick's A-League experience and record stood out from a large pack of highly credentialed candidates.

"At this point in the club's development we believe it is crucial that someone with a deep understanding of the Hyundai A-League both on and off the pitch takes charge of our first team and football department," McKinna said.

"Ernie brings this in spades, and not only the first team but everyone associated with the club should benefit from his knowledge, experience, and winning mentality in some way."

"I believe that the club has all the necessary ingredients for on-field success with a strong core of good quality players, a very competent staff, excellent facilities, and most importantly a wealth of extremely passionate fans," Merrick said.