|By PADDY HIGGS
Former Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has resigned as manager of the Hong Kong national team.
Announced on Friday by the Hong Kong Football Association, Merrick has departed after less than a year in the role, having been appointed in December 2011.
He had begun his stint brightly at the AFC minnows, but had lost his last three matches in charge.
It is believed, however, the two-time A-League title-winner's departure was more due to frustrations at a lack of co-operation from both clubs and players.
"The Hong Kong Football Association and Mr Ernest [Ernie] Merrick have mutually agreed and decided that it is in the best interest of the future of football in Hong Kong for Ernie to leave his position as head coach with immediate effect," a statement read on the Hong Kong FA's website.
"Both parties wish each other well in the future and no further statement will be issued by either party.
"... Contingency plans are being put in place to manage the Hong Kong representative teams and a further announcement will be made in due course."