Central Coast Mariners head coach Graham Arnold says while he likes what he sees, he’s excited about the possibilities which lay ahead for the Gosford based club, following his first training session at the helm.
Central Coast Mariners head coach Graham Arnold says while he likes what he sees, he-s excited about the possibilities which lay ahead for the Gosford based club, following his first training session at the helm.
While Arnold doesn-t officially begin his new role until after his commitments with the Qantas Socceroos end at the FIFA World Cup, the former NAC Breda, Sydney Olympic and Northern Spirit striker says he was keen to assess the job that lies ahead.
“My vision is to try to get the Central Coast Mariners back up the top. With the Centre of Excellence, its so exciting to have that type of thing up on the Central Coast, and this should be the club that everyone wants to be at over the next five years,” said Arnold.
“Something that I always wanted to do was to get back into club football. I-ve had a wonderful experience working during probably the most successful period of the Socceroos, and my job here really commences after the World Cup in July, but with so much work to do I decided to start a bit earlier, while I can be here and I-m really excited about being on the field every day.”
Arnold has been the National team assistant since 1999 and has held roles as Under 20-s coach and interim national team boss, and believes his time learning under the likes of Frank Farina, Guus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek through three World Cup qualifying campaigns – two of those ultimately successful – holds him in good stead for the next chapter.
“After 2006 I wasn-t ready to leave the national team setup but I am now. I-ve had a wonderfully successful time with the FFA and I-m really excited about what the Mariners bring and I-m extremely excited about working with Lawrie.
“We-ve discussed this process of change for quite a while because Lawrie has done a brilliant job up here, he-s been fantastic for the supporters and the community, and I would have been a fool to throw him away,” Arnold said.
The Mariners squad under Arnold is likely to look vastly different to the one which narrowly missed out on a spot in the Hyundai A-League 2009/109 finals series, and the man who has spent a large chunk of his career in the Netherlands and Belgium, and has learned under the masters of Dutch coaching, already has a strong idea of who he would like to see in Yellow and Navy for season six.
“One of the crucial things immediately is player recruitment. We-ve got quite a few players off contract and … I am looking, in the next few months, with Lawrie and Lyall, to bring in some good Australian based players, potentially some Australian players based overseas to bring back home as well as a couple of really good foreigners. Really good visa players that can excite the Central Coast Mariners supporters, strengthen the league and make us a better team.
“I-ve got a very good network of people and they-ve already been notified of what I-m looking for. We-re open-minded with everything for every player. In the front half of the field we need excitement, we need creativity to excite the crowd,” said Arnold.
Arnold also has strong visions about the future of football at all levels on the Central Coast, and is keen to utilise his first team in the development of locals, as the Mariners strive to become the forefront of footballing excellence in this country.
With construction on a $40 million dollar Centre of Excellence at Tuggerah to begin shortly, Arnold believes the future is bright for both Members and supporters of the Central Coast Mariners, as well as the 14-thousand football players, their families and fans on the Coast.
“Gone are the days hopefully that players leave this club to go to another A-League club. I want the message out there to all the players who are playing in national teams, from juniors all the way to the top, that you have got to go to the Central Coast, it-s the best club to go to.
“We-re going to have a wonderful training facility, we-re going to be extremely professional, and that-s what players crave for in this country.
“Hopefully in the future we will be playing predominantly Central Coast Footballers. The pathway that Lyall and Lawrie has set out for junior footballers here on the Central Coast and with the training complex getting up and running, we want to encourage junior footballers to come through our system and come into our first team here at the Central Coast.
“It-s always produced good footballers, they-ve done the club proud, and we-ll be working hard to make sure we don-t lose local players to Newcastle or Sydney,” Arnold said.