The Central Coast Mariners have been doing everything right in the off-season, and deserve a shot at the A-League title. Coach Alen Stajcic has recruited players specifically with experience and pitch authority.
The paltry 3703 Mariners fans who sat in the barren stands at Gosford on Saturday night have every right to be concerned after their side’s 8-2 loss to Wellington and the subsequent sacking of coach Mike Mulvey.
As an extreme hypothetical, what’s to stop Football Federation Australia from stepping in and revoking Central Coast’s licence? This is their second massive loss in 12 months.
Surely the Mariners wouldn’t want to be tarred with the same brush that smeared Clive Palmer at Gold Coast United or Nathan Tinkler at Newcastle Jets?
If you agree with Australian football club rankings The Pecking Order, the yellow and navy army are currently languishing in 16th place. Even National Premier League Victoria club Avondale FC are above them in lucky 13th position.
Thankfully, however, similar to Wellington Phoenix, supporters of the A-League can take comfort in the knowledge that rebuilding a club is possible.
Off the pitch one of the first casualties in a catastrophic loss is usually the coach. Mike Mulvey’s recent form has been less than impressive, but his overall managerial experience can’t be questioned.
Remember that this is the same manager who won the premiers plate and championship with Brisbane Roar. Out of the last four coaches at the Mariners, the previous three being Paul Okon, Tom Walmsley and Phill Moss, Mulvey was the most successful. This includes his former A-League and W-League coach of the year award.
The Mike Mulvey bashing needs to stop.
Undoubtedly the Mariners’ most prosperous period was during the Graham Arnold tenure, and in January former player Patrick Zwaanswijk shed some light on why Arnold’s time at Gosford was prosperous for The World Game.
“When Graham Arnold was coach he had control over everything that was football related. He made all the decisions around the football side of things,” he said.
Who pulls the strings at Gosford?
Last year, as Paul Okon sadly departed the Mariners, Fox Sports expert Robbie Slater made a passing comment in regards to owner Mike Charlesworth.
“In my opinion, Mike Charlesworth has a decision to make. He did not give this man (Okon) the resources needed to make it a more competitive and equitable team in this competition,” he said.
“It’s what Charlesworth doesn’t spend that is the problem.”
Running an A-League team costs lots of money, and it’s very possible Charlesworth has been quite frugal with his funds.
Maybe it’s time to sell the club? The rebuild starts now.