Vale: Clive & Shirley Herbert – great supporters of football

posted in: News, Obituary

Clive and Shirley Herbert, an Auckland couple who used their own sporting success to help others, will long be remembered by football followers, including Friends of Football.

The Herberts were best known as the parents of All Whites player and coach Ricki Herbert, and grandparents to Kale Herbert, a successful coach of national league side Hamilton Wanderers.

Clive was an accomplished cyclist and horse trainer, as well as being known as a football administrator at club and regional level.

Shirley, a top sprinter, understood what it took to become a high-achieving athlete and passed that to Ricki and the young footballers who often turned up at the Herbert home in South Auckland.

Clive Herbert died in Auckland, aged 85, after a short illness, in April 2019.

Shirley died in August 2016, aged 86, after bravely battling cancer.

They were married for six decades.

Clive Herbert was well-known and successful in several sports, including cycling, harness racing and football.

He was a national cycling champion and represented New Zealand as a team official at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

He led home more than 150 winners as a harness racing trainer in the 1990s, winning almost $1 million in stakes. He trained 1993 Rowe Cup champion David Morris for a while, as well as open class pacer Metal Mickey.

In football, he was best known as an administrator, being the chairman of the Northern Provincial Council in the 1990s and he helped steer the restructuring of the sport with the establishment of seven regional federations.

At club level, he served in leadership roles with clubs such as the nationally-successful Mt Wellington and Manurewa, both of which he served as chairman. He was a patron of Albany United.

Sport and family were the pillars of Clive’s life.

In 1955, he married Shirley, an athlete who was Auckland’s 100-yards sprint champion and the daughter of a champion runner.

Clive and Shirley were supportive parents for daughter Deborah and son Ricki as they grew up in South Auckland in the 1960s.

Ricki, a member of the 1982 All Whites and successful coach of the New Zealand team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has often credited his parents for his success as a footballer, saying they were a major influence throughout his career.

In recent years, Clive worked tirelessly to help Ricki and grandson Kale grow and develop the Ricki Herbert Football Academy.

His contribution included the coaching of youngsters, and sharing his knowledge and advice with players and coaches alike.

He travelled as a hands-on team manager with a number of academy squads on international tours, acting as a trusted mentor. Teams at the Ricki Herbert Football Academy regularly play for the Clive Herbert Challenge Cup.

In the weeks before his death, Clive was also a team manager, sitting beside coach Kale Herbert in the dugout for Hamilton Wanderers, during matches in the Lotto NRFL Premier Division.

Click here to read the order of service at Clive Herbert’s memorial service >>>>

Shirley Herbert’s influence on her family’s sporting achievements stemmed from her own success as a young athlete.

Encouraged by her father, who was a champion runner, Shirley became the Auckland 100-yards sprint champion.

Ricki has often credited his parents for his success as a footballer, saying they have been a major influence throughout his career.

As well as encouraging her family’s football activities, Shirley was also a partner in the family’s harness racing enterprise which saw Clive and, briefly, Ricki training and driving pacers.

Shirley was a devoted mother, grandmother and great grandmother and she will be missed by family, friends and the sporting community.

Clive Herbert (1933-2019)

Shirley Herbert (1930-2016)