Football: All Whites coach Danny Hay wants venue change for World Cup qualifiers

Auckland could once again become the spiritual home of the All Whites, if new coach Danny Hay gets his way.

Just a month into the job, Hay's already looking to make his mark, both on and off the field.

The 44-year-old wants to move any future World Cup playoff match away from Wellington.

"Let's play it in the biggest, best stadium we've got in this country," Hay says. 

That stadium is Auckland's Eden Park, with a capacity of 50,000 people.

Hay feels it's time to move on from that night in the capital, when Rory Fallon scored the goal that put New Zealand into the 2010 World Cup. 

"[It] just feels like 2009 has been a bit of a burden, whether it's on the coaching staff, playing staff, even the fans to try and recreate that moment," Hay says. 

Since then, the All Whites have hosted Mexico and Peru in the last two World Cup qualifying playoffs - both have ended in disappointment.

"That's why I think let's do something different, let's do something new, let's create our moment," Hay said.

Hay's legacy starts in November, when the All Whites play their first fixture in nearly 18 months.

Hay has a plan to roll out the big guns, including English Premier League striker Chris Wood.

"It's been great to see him score some goals," says Hay. "[It's] good timing." 

Former captain Winston Reid is also set to play, the first time he and Wood will have appeared together for the national team since 2017. 

"He's suffered quite badly with some serious injuries," Hay says. "He's confident that, come November and barring any other setbacks, he'll be fine."

Hay hopes next month's friendlies against Ireland and Lithuania will give his team valuable gametime together.

"The fact that it's in Europe as well, I think that makes it very easy for a lot of those players based over there," Hay added. 



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