The Central Coast Mariners today confirmed that Qantas Socceroo icon Mark Bosnich will be welcomed to the Mariners’ playing roster for seven rounds of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season as the Mariners’ first ever guest player.
The Central Coast Mariners today confirmed that Qantas Socceroo icon Mark Bosnich will be welcomed to the Mariners- playing roster for seven rounds of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season as the Mariners- first ever guest player.
Bosnich has been on trial with the reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers for the past month and having satisfied the club of his ability to contribute positively to the Mariners- season four charge, has been invited to make an impression on Australia-s top flight football competition for the first time since December 1991.
Surely the greatest name to have ever been introduced to the Hyundai A-League since the competitions inception, Bosnich is one of Australia-s most identifiable sportspeople by virtue of his amazing international and domestic career that blazed a trial for Australia-s aspirant football professionals.
One of a very exclusive club of Australians to have won an English Premier League Championship medal and once widely acknowledged as the best goalkeeper in world football, Bosnich-s CV reads as well as any player to have ever worn the green and gold of Australia.
Bosnich is eligible for selection for the Mariners- opening home match of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season against Sydney FC this coming Saturday and will then be considered for the Mariners- subsequent Hyundai A-League fixtures from Round 3 through to Round 8.
During this time, Bosnich will potentially make as many as four appearances at Bluetongue Stadium and a further three more across Australia and New Zealand.
“We are delighted to today announce that one of the greats of Australian football is a Central Coast Mariner,” said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.
“Since joining us as a triallist, Mark has proven to be an exceptional role model for not only the younger members of our playing group, but also our senior players and I have every confidence that by Mark continuing his stay with us in the capacity of a guest player, we have significantly boosted our aspirations on and off the pitch for the current season.
“We as a club have been simply amazed by the work ethic Mark has showcased since joining our playing group and cannot speak highly enough of the overwhelmingly positive effect his presence has had on our squad and our club.
“It has been a feature of our recruitment history to repatriate Australia-s finest football exports and with Mark on board, we have continued this tradition and very happily and willingly provided a well deserved opportunity for one of the greats of the Australian game to contribute to this most exciting time for football in this country.”
Bosnich-s rare talents were first truly discovered and recognised by Australian audiences in the early to mid-nineties, when in his early twenties, Bosnich inspired English Premier League challengers Aston Villa to the their two greatest domestic triumphs of the past decade – the 1994 and 1996 English League Cup trophies.
At the semi final stage of the 1994 edition, Bosnich was the hero for the Birmingham side when saving three penalties to help Aston Villa to a 5-4 penalty shootout triumph over Tranmere Rovers, which secured the club a shot at Manchester United, who they then defeated 3-1 in the final.
This performance, coupled with many standout showings in the English Premier League, made Bosnich an instant fans favourite at Villa Park and an overnight celebrity throughout the United Kingdom as an Australian excelling in England-s top flight, which at this time was somewhat of a novelty.
Bosnich replicated his form with Aston Villa at international level, where he was a standout for Australia in their quest for qualification for the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups in the United States and France respectively – even netting a rare goalkeepers goal for the Socceroos from the penalty spot against the Solomon Islands in 1997.
Following Australia-s near miss of qualification for France, Bosnich secured a high profile move to world football giants Manchester United, who installed Bosnich as the successor to club legend and fellow goalkeeping luminary Peter Schmeichel.
While at Old Trafford, Bosnich claimed some more exclusive silverware – the 1999/00 English Premier League Championship and the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, where Bosnich was a standout for the Red Devils in their 1-0 defeat of Brazilian side Pameiras.
Most recently, Bosnich turned in an exceptional performance for the Mariners in their 3-0 Pre-Season Cup triumph over Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium, before extending his clean sheet to a half-hour cameo appearance off the bench against the Queensland Roar at Brisbane-s Perry Park in the same competition.
The Mariners- Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign continues at their Bluetongue Stadium home this Saturday, 23 August, when they host southern rivals Sydney FC. Kick off is at 7pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale now from all Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website – www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.