15 Apr 2019

Rudan's departure confirmed by Phoenix

3:24 pm on 15 April 2019

The Wellington Phoenix have confirmed coach Mark Rudan will leave the football club at the end of the current A-League season.

Phoenix head coach Mark Rudan.

Departing Phoenix coach Mark Rudan. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Reports emerged just before the Phoenix's 2-1 loss against the Brisbane Roar on Friday that Rudan had told the team he intended to leave at the end of the season.

Rudan was signed to a two-year contract in Wellington, but had publicly stated that he has struggled being separated from his family who remained in Sydney.

He said that making the decision to leave was an extremely difficult one.

"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my career. I came here wanting a project I could sink my teeth into and really make a difference to our sport... I've said it before, this football club is special. There are wonderful people here that make this club what it is. The people of Wellington and New Zealand have truly embraced me.

"The past few weeks I have worked closely with the club trying to find a solution but ultimately it was something that could not be resolved. The reasoning behind making the announcement now is to put a stop to all the speculation out there and to completely focus on finals football."

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome says the club did its very best to retain Rudan for a second season.

"Just to be absolutely clear, this is not a decision that has been made due to any financial constraints. Whatever was going to be required, we were looking at doing that," he said.

"It was never about dollars for us in terms of not being able to pay Mark what he's worth, or trying to get his family to come here.

"Ultimately his family's very, very settled in Sydney, and it was in their best interests to stay there, and we accept that."

Despite the recent speculation around Rudan's future, and back-to-back losses to Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, Dome said Wellington were still determined to make the top four and secure a home elimination final.

"The players are very focused on that, and Mark is very focused on that."

Rudan's final regular season home game in charge of the Phoenix is on April 21 against Melbourne City.

The Phoenix are fifth on the A-League ladder, a point behind fourth-placed Adelaide and tied with sixth-placed Melbourne City on points.

Rudan said he was 100% committed to making the finals.

"We want to bring back finals football to Wellington.

"This football club gave me my first opportunity as head doach in the A-League and for that I will always be grateful."

Reports here and in Australia suggest Rudan is a frontrunner to coach the new Sydney-based expansion club, Western United.

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