Wellington Phoenix have confirmed the signing of English striker Chris Greenacre, who joins the A-League club on a two-year deal from Tranmere Rovers, where he was top scorer for three of his four seasons at the League One outfit.
Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata and head coach Ricki Herbert had targeted Greenacre prior to a recruiting mission to the United Kingdom in March.
Pignata was thrilled to have secured the services of the talented and experienced striker and said Greenacre was a wonderful acquisition.
He told the press, “We’ve had tremendous feedback from a lot of people that we’ve spoken to about Chris, from coaches and managers to his fellow players.
“He’s been Tranmere’s top scorer for three seasons and has been part of a side this season that is pushing for promotion to the Championship.
“Chris has a proven pedigree as a striker and we’re certain he will fit in very well at the Phoenix.”
Greenacre’s professionalism and experience would be a huge bonus for the Phoenix. As well as representing Tranmere for four seasons, Greenacre’s career has also seen him play at the top levels with clubs including Stoke City, Mansfield Town and Manchester City.
Pignata added, “His qualities as a professional are second to none, and that was clear to Ricki and me within the first 10 minutes of meeting him. We’re very excited about getting him here to join the Phoenix.”
Greenacre was also excited about the prospect of making Wellington his home for the next two seasons. The striker and his wife, Lynsey, are scheduled to arrive in the capital in the first week of June.
“I can’t wait,” Greenacre said. “I’m looking forward to a new challenge and a new chapter in my career.”
The decision to travel to the other side of the world to join the Phoenix was a surprisingly easy one for the Wakefield-born forward.
“It wasn’t a tough decision at all, certainly not from a football perspective. The more I learned about the club and about Wellington from Tony the more it appealed,” he said.
A player with a canny sense for a goal, Greenacre prides himself as a striker who can be “in the right place at the right time” to score.
He said, “I’m not so much a target man as the sort of player who can hold the ball up, score what some people might call the ‘ugly’ goals, I guess – get in and around the box and on the posts and scramble them in.
“I’m not the sort of player who is going to take the ball on halfway, beat five guys then curl the ball past the 'keeper. It’s more about using my knowledge and experience to get into good scoring positions and to be clinical in finishing.”
With star striker Shane Smeltz having left the Phoenix after two fantastic seasons, Greenacre admitted the heat would be on him to step up for the Phoenix.
“I guess there will be a bit of pressure but I’ve been in the game as a professional long enough to know what’s expected of me and my record speaks for itself,” he said.
“I’ve had the pressures of expectation put on me everywhere I’ve played, so it’s nothing new. I’ve never been the sort of player to bluff my way through things – I’m honest with myself and I work hard to gets things right.”
Pignata said the Phoenix’s search for a second top striker was continuing:
“We’ve got other options and Ricki wants a target man, so that’s what we’re looking for. We’re taking our time because we want to make sure we get the right person, and we’re hopeful that by the end of June we will have signed the bulk of our squad.”