Christchurch United had the pleasure of hosting All Whites coach Danny Hay at the club recently and discovered New Zealand’s top coach shares very similar values and ambitions as United.
The former Premier League and All Whites star was hosted by Head of Coaching Michiel Buursma who had invited Hay to check out United’s world class facilities.
Hay also had extensive meetings with president Slava Meyn and board member Joe Cole to get an insight in the club’s methodology and vision for the club.
The All Whites coach said that he tried to get around the country to meet with the “key people” and to check out the Christchurch Football Centre.
“It was my first time down there and I think the facility must be the best one in the country,” said Hay.
Hay said he was pleasantly surprised what he found at Christchurch United, “and I think they are doing some great things in the youth space, developing players.”
Hay said that Christchurch United’s vision aligns with his own philosophy of developing the great players with a unique Kiwi identity.
“The Canterbury region has given us some of the greatest All Whites in the history of game. With all the good work that is done in Christchurch, I want to see us unlock and unleash the terrific talent that is there and I want to do everything I can to support them.”
Buursma said Hay stayed longer than he had expected, “so he also watched some of our training sessions to see how we work with our teams,” said Buursma, who also provided Hay with access to United sophisticated Spiideo video system to enable the All Whites coach to provide feedback on United’s coaching methods.
“It was a really nice visit. Danny showed us some stuff he works with at the All Whites and shared his ideas about lifting football in this country,” said Buursma.
Hay had been following the progress of United through his contacts with Buursma, but also through his former All Whites colleague Danny Halligan who unfortunately unable to attend the meetings.
Buursma said United’s ambitions of providing a higher level of coaching to developing better players to lift the level of the club and the rest of the football community, aligned with Hay’s personal vision to make New Zealand football teams more competitive.
“He was open-minded, shared his vision and ideas and it became clear how we can help each other in the future in order to improve the level of football in the country and to improve the opportunities for the football players in New Zealand,” said Buursma.
Hay was appointed national coach last year after leading Eastern Suburbs to the national league title and three years in charge of the New Zealand under-17 teams.
Before that Hay had long professional career starting in the old Australian National League with Perth Glory before his big move to Leeds United.
He became the first New Zealander to sign for a Premier League club and also the first Kiwi since Wyton Rufer to appear in the Champions League with two appearances as a substitute against FC Barcelona and AC Milan in the 2000-01 season.
After three seasons at Elland Road, Hay played two years at Walsall in the First Division, before he returned home to play for the Football Kingz, the New Zealand Knights and Perth Glory in the A-League.
“It was an honour and a pleasure of having the national team coach spend so much time with us and I was really energised after Danny’s visit.”