OAM For Ernie

A “surprised and privileged’ Ernie Merrick has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his services to football.

A “surprised and privileged- Ernie Merrick has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his services to football.

The award was announced in the Queen-s Birthday Honours list on Monday.

“It was a nice surprise and I feel very privileged to be recognised in this way,” Merrick said.

“I was asked if I thought winning two A-League Grand Finals with Victory had anything to do with it, but I think it is for what I have done with young players at grass roots levels.”

Merrick, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, began coaching at Dufton in 1979, where he was assistant coach, before becoming player-coach and then head coach.

He went on to coach Preston and George Cross before spending 13 years at the Victoria Institute of Sport where he helped develop young players through the Australian under-17, under-20 and Olympic level national teams.

In 2005 he became head coach at Melbourne Victory and won two Hyundai A-League titles.

“For once I was lost for words when I was told I had been given this honour,” Merrick said.

“You don-t expect awards for doing something you love but it is appreciated when it happens.”

Ernie Merrick's Wellington Phoenix side will next month host The Football United Tour 2014, which will see a football extravaganza spanning the length of New Zealand -

* Tues 22 July @ 7.30pm in Dunedin: Sydney FC v Newcastle United * Wed 23 July @ 7.30pm in Auckland: Phoenix v West Ham United * Sat 26 July @ 2pm: West Ham v Sydney FC, & 4.30pm: Phoenix v Newcastle Utd.

Ticketing information

ON SALE NOW - CLICK HERE TO BUY Auckland & Wellington (Ticketek.)

21 May: Public Sale for Dunedin (Ticket Direct).

TRAVEL PACKAGES FROM AUSTRALIA: BCD Travel - http://bcdsport.co.nz/footballunitedtour/

Click here to see all the Football United Tour information.