Wellington Phoenix part ways with Tony Lochhead

Chris Hyde

The club's joint longest-serving player and team record holder for appearances will not be offered a new contract by new manager Ernie Merrick.

After six seasons at Wellington Phoenix, in fact all six of the club's existence, Tony Lochhead will not be offered a new contract. New manager Ernie Merrick made decisions on six out of contract players, choosing not to re-sign five of them including the club's record holder for games played.

Though Merrick also released Alex Smith, Dani Sánchez, Jimmy Downey and Lucas Pantelis, Lochhead's departure is the biggest symbol of a new regime at New Zealand's sole A-League club. Combined with Ricki Herbert's resignation from the managerial position in February, Lochhead's exit brings a swift end to remnants of Wellington's original season of 2007/08. Only Vince Lia remains from that inaugural campaign while Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund, Manny Muscat and Andrew Durante joined the team in its second season.

Smith featured forty-two times at Wellington over the past two seasons but scored just once. He has already signed on at Oakleigh Cannons under former Queensland Roar and Gold Coast United manager Miron Bleiberg in the Victorian Premier League. Sánchez made one fewer appearance for the Phoenix than did Smith in his two years, scoring seven goals, but his use of a foreign slot was too valuable for Merrick to keep the Spaniard in the fold. Downey and Pantelis were injury casualties, combining for just seven games over two seasons. Pantelis never played for Wellington after suffering a catastrophic knee injury in a pre-season game against Central Coast Mariners in 2011 immediately after his high profile move from Adelaide United.

Merrick now has just fifteen players under contract at Wellington: Lia, Bertos, Durante, Sigmund, Muscat, Paul Ifill, Michael Boxall, Benjamin Totori, Jeremy Brockie, Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Stein Huysegems, Tyler Boyd, Cameron Lindsay and Carlos Hernández. Ian Hogg, who is out of contract, was spared release for now and will be given a chance to impress Merrick at left back during the upcoming pre-season.

Corey Gameiro will also depart the club as the terms of his loan from Fulham are complete. The 20-year-old striker who scored once in seven games for the Phoenix is hoping to sign with Sydney FC at the completion of the U20 World Cup, where he is a member of the Young Socceroos. He will not be offered a new contract at Fulham.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.