Every Kiwi football fan knows Ricki Herbert. A star of the 1982 World Cup-qualifying All Whites, who under the inspired coaching of John Adshead and Kevin Fallon did the impossible, and took on the world from Mt Wellington, as Eriksson Stadium was then known, he then played professionally in the UK for Wolverhampton Wanderers. At the end of a successful playing career, one of the most highly respected and best-loved figures in the local game took his considerable skills into coaching the game he has loved with a passion all his life. When a New Zealand franchise, the Knights, finally joined the Australian league, their struggles and misadventures became headline news. In danger of losing their place in the competition after a disasterous year and facing an ignominious last on the results table, Herbert, by now coach of the All Whites, was called in to see them through the last five games of the season. He pulled them up from the bottom of the table. When millionaire developer Terry Serepisos came to the rescue and formed the Wellington Phoenix from the ashes of the Knights, no one was surprised that he wanted Herbert as coach. In a revealing and very readable account of the trials and tribulations of a life spent playing and coaching football from New Zealand, Ricki Herbert: A new fire is one for the Yellow Fever, the Phoenix fans, and general sports readers alike.
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