Chris Greenacre ends playing career, takes full-time assistant role at Wellington Phoenix

The 34-year-old had supported Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert in a part-time role last season, but now hangs up the boots to assume a full-time position

Chris Greenacre has made the full transition from player to coach after signing a two-year deal to be Ricki Herbert's assistant at the Wellington Phoenix.

The move had long been mooted after the 34-year-old former Stoke City and Tranmere Rovers striker combined his playing role with coaching duties at the Phoenix during the 2011-12 A-League season.

"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," said the Englishman, who scored 19 goals since joining the A-League club in 2009.

"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."

Greenacre, who holds a UEFA B coaching licence and is working towards his A licence, will also coach the Wellington Phoenix A team.

He and goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould - freshly returned to the club after a season at Perth Glory - have been running pre-season training in Wellington while Herbert is away at the 2012 Olympic Games in London with the New Zealand Under-23 side.

"Gouldy and myself hit it off from the start and have many of the same coaching ideals," Greenacre 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."

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