Martin Devlin: An open letter to Abby Erceg

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 18 January 2019, 12:17PM

An open letter to Abby Erceg.

Dear Abby, thanks but no thanks. Yes, it's lovely, and timely, that you've put your hand up (again) to be part of the Football Ferns, only this time no.

You've had your time Abby. Twice. And you've chosen to forego the privilege of playing for your country. Twice.

Which is 100% absolutely fine. I respect your decision(s). But there is no third time lucky available here, or at least there shouldn't be.

Obviously, the significance of this being a FIFA World Cup year isn't lost on you.

Your ever so carefully crafted PR machine has put all the right heartfelt messages in all the right places, I get all that. But I still can't help saying, "so what?".

Being a World Cup year, the biggest stage, no better place for any player to advertise their wares to potential new suitors, I get all that too - not that, that aspect of it has ever have crossed your mind, of course."

"Because the only, and let me repeat only, reason you've decided to come back (again) is your undying commitment to the team's cause blah blah, your utter selfless dedication to the national interest etc, etc zzzzzzzz.

Just to let everyone know what has actually gone on here, Abby retired the first time from the Football Ferns because of differences with NZF about their serious lack of support for the women's game.

She then re-retired last year because of that idiot masquerading as a coach called Andreas Heraf.

As I said earlier, two decisions that were as sound as they were selfish. And I mean selfish in a good way.

Professional athletes, by definition, make these sorts of calls based entirely on what's best for themselves.

Just ask Ryan Nelsen, who himself chose not to play some 20-odd games for the All Whites, before (coincidentally) becoming super keen again when that glorious World Cup campaign started getting momentum.

Look, don't get me wrong, I love Ryan Nelson and what he did for us - I'm just telling the rest of the truth here.

When Abby decided to ditch last year, she also left all her FF team-mates in the lurch, to fight the good fight without their best & most influential voice.

All those young women were left to fight Heraf risking their international futures with no guarantee of success.

It was a very very big ballsy move and thank goodness it paid off.

In my humble, and irrelevant opinion, those same women deserve to now play at this year's World Cup because they are the ones who qualified us and they are the ones who stood up for what's right.

So, I for one, don't welcome the prodigal daughter back. Not one bit.

Dear Abby, to quote JFK, "ask not what your country can do for you...".

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