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Central Coast Mariners FC, also known as The Mariners or The Coast, are an Australian professional football club based on the Central Coastmarker of New South Walesmarker, Australia. They participate in the A-League and are one of three teams from the state of New South Walesmarker playing in the competition. The Mariners were the first professional football (soccer) club from the Central Coastmarker to compete in a national competition, and were formed during 2004 for the foundation of the A-League in 2005–06. Despite being considered one of the smaller franchise at the inception of the A-League competition, Central Coast qualified for the first four domestic finals after their establishment. The Mariners had a successful first season, winning the 2005 Pre-Season Cup and losing in the A-League grand final to Sydney FC.

Central Coast made the final of the Pre-Season Cup again in 2006, however lost to Adelaide United. The Mariners came sixth in the 2006–07 A-League competition, and failed to qualify for the finals series. The Mariners claimed their first A-League minor premiership in 2007–08 by goal difference, holding on after starting the season strongly. The Mariners defeated derby rivals Newcastle Jets in the major semi-final to qualify for the Grand Final, which they lost to the Jets 1–0.In the 2008/2009 season The Mariners finished the home and away season in fourth place before slumping to 2 defeats from the QLD Roar in the minor semi-final legs 2–0 at home and 2–1 away.

History

The Central Coast Mariners' bid for a franchise in the Football Federation Australia's (FFA) new A-League competition aimed to fill the one spot for a regional team that was designated by the FFA. Media speculation prior to announcement of the franchises in the new league suggested that the Mariners bid may be favourable due to its new blood. Backing from former Australian national team player and club technical director Alex Tobin, as well as Clean Up Australia personality Ian Kiernan - who would act as inaugural club chairman - also strengthened their proposal. As the only regional bidder, the Mariners were expected to make it in to the league by default. Following a reported signed deal with the FFA, the club signed former Northern Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna as manager and Ian Ferguson, a former Rangers and Northern Spirit player as coach. To aid the FFA's goals of building the profile of the sport, the Mariners created formal links with local state league team Central Coast United. After much expectation, the club was announced as one of eight teams to become part of Football Australia's domestic competition, the Hyundai A-League on 1 November 2004.

At the time of the formation of the new league in 2004, the club was owned by Spirits Sports and Leisure Group. The club announced early on its search for a star player under the leagues' allowance for one star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap, insisting that the player should not look at the position as a retirement fund. Coach Lawrie McKinna sought interest from Australia national football team players Ante Milicic and Simon Colosimo, and also announced that he may sign more than the three required under-20 players. Early concerns for the club centred around the concerns over financial stability, but after forming a partnership with technology giants Toshiba and a cash injection from local businessman John Singleton, the clubs financial worries were eased. McKinna was keen to sign local player Damien Brown of Bateau Baymarker, formerly of the Newcastle Jets. In a decision which prompted the player to declare that he was "over the moon", Brown became the first player to sign with the club. Club chairman Lyall Gorman was pleased that a local had become a "foundation player" and part of Brown's role would be to assist with selection of younger players from the local area. By early December 2004, the club had created a steady foundation of player signings and began negotiations with former Perth Glory striker Nik Mrdja, signing him later in the month as their star striker. Mrjda was one of the most prominent players in the last season of the National Soccer League, shooting the final goal to secure Perth Glory's finals win. The club management were reluctant to sign a star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap, stipulating that they "would have to contribute on the pitch and get people to come to the ground."

The Mariners' inaugural season was considered a resounding success by many, with the team reaching the A-League grand final after finishing third during the regular season. They were defeated by Sydney FC 1–0 in the grand final, playing in front of a crowd of 41,689 - a competition record at the time. The Mariners also won the 2005 Pre-Season Cup, defeating Perth Glory in the final 1–0.

The Mariners developed a strong rivalry with Newcastle Jets throughout their first season, often referred to as the "F3 derby". The naming is a reference to the unofficial designation of the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, the major motorway which joins the two clubs.

Prior to the 2006–07 season, the Mariners secured the services of then Australian international Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda for two years. This was the Mariners' first marquee signing, following the lead of Sydney FC (Dwight Yorke) and Adelaide United (Qu Shengqing). The Coast again reached the grand final of the Pre-Season Cup, losing to Adelaide United 5-4 on penalties after scores were tied 1–1 after extra time. Central Coast then participated in the 2006–07 A-League season, however were unable to gain a spot in the final series, finishing sixth after the regular season.

Club captain Noel Spencer was released by the mariners then signed to participate in the Asian Champions League by Sydney FC after the 2006–07 season, and Alex Wilkinson was appointed the new captain. Only 22 years of age at the time, Wilkinson had played every competitive match for the Mariners up to his appointment.

Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic was suspended from both domestic and international competition for striking referee Mark Shield in the A-League Grand Final in February, 2008. Despite appeals, the ban was eventually confirmed by FIFAmarker in June, to include banning the young keeper from competing at the 2008 Olympic Games. The ban involves games at all levels up till October 6, 2008.

Due to Central Coast losing their first choice keeper for the first couple months of the season, the Mariners have signed high profile former Manchester United and Socceroos keeper, Mark Bosnich, on a seven week contract. This is the first time Mark has played professional football since a disappointing departure from the game back in 2002.

In February of this year, the Central Coast Mariners signed an arrangement with English Football League Championship side Sheffield United. The partnership between the Mariners, The Blades and other partner clubs including Ferencváros of Hungary, Chengdu Blades of China, São Paulo of Brazil and White Star Woluwé of Belgium will benefit the club in being able to provide an opportunity for the youth programme of the club to develop by touring the world and develop their footballing background, whilst in reverse, the Mariners will be able to share in having some of Sheffield United’s Youth Academy or reserve team prospects available to play. Current Western Sydney triallist Gregor Pac is leading the way out of the many fine Youth Academy players that could take advantage of this overseas link.

Colours and badge

}}The Mariners' home jersey is predominantly navy with one yellow stripe running down the centre. The away uniform is a plain yellow jersey.

The Mariners enjoyed considerable success in the 2005–06 away strip. In twelve competitive matches, the Mariners achieved five wins, six draws and only one loss. The loss to derby rivals Newcastle was the only time the Mariners failed to score while playing away in the 2005–06 season.

The team logo is a yellow football at the centre of a blue curling wave, which symbolises the beaches of the Central Coastmarker.

Stadium

The Central Coast Mariners play their home games at Bluetongue Stadiummarker, Gosfordmarker. It is located in Grahame Parkmarker, between the Gosford CBD and the Brisbane Water foreshore. It is constructed to make the most of its location, being open at the southern end, giving filtered views of Brisbane Water through a row of large palm trees. It is within walking distance of Gosford railway stationmarker and is adjacent to the Central Coast Leagues Club.

Two other names for the stadium have been used during the Mariners' tenancy: Central Coast Express Advocate Stadium and Central Coast Stadium.

As of December 2007, the Mariners are the only national sporting team to use the stadium. The Central Coast Rays rugby union team also used the stadium in the Australian Rugby Championship's only season in 2007.

While the stadium has a capacity of 20,119, the Mariners highest attendance is 19,238 against Newcastle Jets in its round 19 the 2007-08 season.

Supporters

The main supporter base of the Central Coast Mariners is called the Marinators.The Marinators are an obvious presence at home games played at Bluetongue Stadiummarker, Gosfordmarker and are known for their continuous singing and support coming primarily from Bay 22, which is directly behind the goal posts at the northern end of the stadium. Standard chants include the Yellow Submarine-inspired "We all follow a yellow football team", a reference to the colour of the team's kit.

The Marinators are a loose informal self-identifying support base that is vocal and encourages the wearing of yellow. There was no fee or formal membership-based group during the first two seasons of the A-League competition; they received donations from members and sponsorships from local businesses in the Central Coast regionmarker and from the Central Coast Mariners Football Club. They became particularly visible through selling Marinators shirts during the lead up to the inaugural A-League season, before replica shirts were available.

On 19 May 2007 the Marinators established a formal support structure when they set up a sub-club of Central Coast Leagues Club. The official 'Marinators Club' enables the co-ordinators to be more accountable for funds raised and spent, and also allows for some public liability insurance for any 'Marinators Club' trips or outings.

Affiliated Clubs



Current squad

A-League Squad

Youth League Squad

Note: Over age or senior contracted players do not have specific shirt numbers. Instead, senior players use any shirt number not used by the match-day youth squad.

W-League Squad

Former Notable Players

Australia

Germany

Ireland

Scotland

Records

As of 21 October 2007. Only competitive matches are counted.


Club captain Alex Wilkinson and striker Adam Kwasnik have played the most games for the Mariners in A-League competition, with 47. Wilkinson played in every competitive match for the Central Coast Mariners during the first two seasons of the A-League competition.

Australian Adam Kwasnik has scored the most goals for Central Coast in the A-League competition, with 14. Kwasnik has also converted the most penalty kicks for the Mariners, with four.

The Mariners highest attendance at their home stadium, Bluetongue Stadiummarker, is 19,238 against the Newcastle Jets in its round 19 match of the 2007-08 season. This was the second highest crowd at the ground for any sport since the ground's first match in February 2000.

The Mariners have a short tradition of playing matches on New Years Eve, and have experienced increased turnouts to fixtures on this date.

Regular season top scorers
Name Goals Games Average Years
1 Sasho Petrovski 14 39 0.36 2007-09
2 Adam Kwasnik 14 60 0.23 2005-08
3 Matt Simon 11 39 0.28 2006-
4 John Hutchinson 11 100 0.15 2005-
5 Dean Heffernan 9 41 0.22 2005-
6 Mile Jedinak 8 44 0.18 2005-08
7 John Aloisi 7 15 0.47 2007-08
8 Tom Pondeljak 6 48 0.13 2005-08
Table up-to-date as of 11 January 2009.


Club officials

Board of Directors



Football Department



Managers

As of 28 October 2007. Only competitive matches are counted.


Since forming prior to the 2005–06 A-League season, the Central Coast Mariners have had only one manager.

Name Nat. From To Record
P W D L F A
Lawrie McKinna 2004 present 69 30 31 18 81 62


Achievements









Notes

I : Currently, the official Bluetongue Stadium website lists the capacity as 20,059 whereas both Central Coast Mariners FC and AuStadiums list it as 20,119. The all-time record crowd at the stadium is also 20,059 - recorded during a NRL match - making it implausible for that figure to also be the maximum capacity.
II : Ferguson played for the Mariners whilst acting as assistant coach of the club. This was due to a desperate lack of player numbers through injury during the Mariners' 2005–06 season.
III : Clark acts as Strength & Conditioning manager as an extension of his playing duties for the club.


References

  1. FIFA crush Vukovic's Olympic dream


External links




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