Speakers Profile - John Adshead

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New Zealand

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England-born former head coach of New Zealand's national football team the All Whites, whom he led to their one and only FIFA World Cup appearance in the 1982 tournament. Most recently he was the coach of the New Zealand Knights in the inaugural season of the A-League.

Life and work

Adshead is arguably one of the most important people in the history of New Zealand football. The English born Adshead first started off as a player with Exeter City before injury ended his career at just 22. Following his retirement as a player, Adshead instantly got into coaching and upon his arrival in Western Australia in 1970 he coached for six years in the Western Australian State League.

It was in New Zealand where Adshead made his mark. With his club Manurewa he won six trophies including Chatham Cup and got the club into the top division in New Zealand. In 1979 Adshead was appointed as the coach of the New Zealand national side and with the World Cup having one half spot for Oceania it was down to the two strongest teams in Oceania to fight for the right to compete in the Asian Football Confederation final qualifying round and ultimate qualification. New Zealand overcame the Les Scheinflug led Australians. Adshead led the All Whites through the qualifying round against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and China to joint top spot with China, and won the playoff 2-0 in Singapore to qualify for the World Cup for the first and only time in their history. A total of 15 qualifying games were required by the All Whites to reach the finals tournament.New Zealand lost all three finals games, against Scotland (5-2), Soviet Union (3-0) and Brazil (4-0) [ [http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/all-whites%2526%2523039%3B-results-1982-soccer-world-cup|1982 Soccer World Cup Results] ]

After leaving the New Zealand national coaching job in 1983, Adshead spent time in football obscurity again before returning to coach New Zealand again in 1987 to try and get the team to the 1990 World Cup but they failed to get out of the Oceania round by one point. Adshead again coached in Perth and as a youth coach in Oman before returning to New Zealand to coach the New Zealand Knights in the inaugural season of the A-League. A cancer scare just after his appointment and the poor on field performances of the club led to his retirement after the end of the 2005/06 season.