Two months ago, canny Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick described his Newcastle Jets squad as “the strongest squad since I’ve been at the club.”
Central Coast Mariners have offered Usain Bolt a contract for “much, much less” than what the Olympic great’s camp requested, the head of the A-League says.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke says Bolt is considering the Mariners’ offer.
“I understand from Central Coast Mariners that they have tabled an offer to Usain Bolt’s management, which he is considering,” O’Rourke told SEN radio on Monday.
“That offer is much, much less than (the Bolt camp) were originally requesting.
“And that’s really reflected that if Usain wants to join the club and become a footballer he should follow a journey pretty similar to any trialist, not withstanding for a minute the amount of marketing that somebody like Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, can bring to the Central Coast and the broader A-League.”
Bolt’s camp had reportedly asked for a deal around $3 million but the Mariners’ offer was reportedly in the vicinity of $150,000.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist has been on trial at Central Coast for the past two months.
O’Rourke reiterated that Football Federation Australia wouldn’t dip into its marquee fund for any Bolt deal.
“There’s no funding from the marquee fund, as we said from day one,” he said.
” … the marquee fund has secured people like Keisuke Honda and Sam Kerr with football pedigree and Usain Bolt has yet to become a professional footballer anywhere in the world.”
But O’Rourke said marketing components had been discussed with Bolt’s potential contract.
“There were some marketing conversations about contributions towards attendances at games, appearance fees if you like,” he said.
“But as for funding him as a footballer, then the FFA has been consistent in that they won’t fund him. That won’t change.”
The Mariners on Monday remained tight-lipped, refusing to confirm the club had made an offer to the 32-year-old Jamaican.
A Mariners spokesman would only say Bolt’s indefinite training period at the club remained in place and negotiations were ongoing.
Bolt didn’t travel with Brisbane on Sunday when the Mariners drew 1-1 with the Roar in their A-League season-opener.
Reports of the contract offer to Bolt emerged midway through the game but Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said post-game he was unaware of the development.