Serepisos' Phoenix owes coach $100,000

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is owed more than $100,000 by the Terry Serepisos-owned club and has engaged lawyers.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is owed more than $100,000 by the Terry Serepisos-owned club and has engaged lawyers.

Former Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson confirmed to NBR that he was acting for Mr Herbert, although he could not go into detail about the nature of the work.

It was reported late last year that Mr Herbert had not been paid for weeks but that he was sticking by club owner Terry Serepisos out of loyalty.

The National Business Review understands that since that time the amount owed has increased to well over $100,000.

The Wellington Phoenix is owned by Century City Football, which itself is owned by Century City Trust, whose sole shareholder is Mr Serepisos.

As Mr Serepisos' financial problems have deepened, Mr Herbert has increasingly run the risk of being left as an unsecured creditor, should the embattled property developer's empire fall.

While employment details are confidential, it has been estimated that Mr Herbert is supposed to be paid about $200,000 a year for coaching the Phoenix.

Wellington Phoenix chief executive Nathan Greenham could not be reached for comment on how much, if anything, the club owes its coach.

Last week Mr Serepisos' lawyer, John Billington, told the Wellington High Court that his client wanted to work with insolvency experts to facilitate a managed sale of 150 residential dwellings and six commercial properties that he owned.

Meanwhile, the five-strong consortium of Wellington businessmen who are ready to step in and buy the club to keep the A-League franchise in Wellington, are preparing themselves for a takeover.

A source spoken to by NBR said one of the Phoenix five had already flown to Australia for discussions with the Football Federation of Australia.