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Central Coast

Central Coast is a football (soccer) club from Australia.

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About Central Coast

Central Coast Mariners Football Club is a professional association football club based on the Central Coast (New South Wales) of New South Wales, Australia. They participate in the A-League and are one of three teams from the state of New South Wales playing in the competition. The Mariners were the first professional football (soccer) club from the Central Coast (New South Wales) to compete in a national competition, and were formed during 2004 for the foundation of the A-League in A-League 2005-06. Despite being considered one of the smaller professional sports league organizations at the inception of the A-League competition, Central Coast qualified for the first four Football (soccer) in Australia finals after their establishment. The Mariners had a successful first season, winning the A-League 2005-06 Pre-Season Challenge Cup and losing in the List of A-League champions to Sydney FC.

Central Coast made the final of the A-League 2006-07 Pre-Season Challenge Cup again in 2006, however lost to Adelaide United FC. The Mariners came sixth in the A-League 2006-07 competition, and failed to qualify for the A-League 2006-07 Finals series. The Mariners claimed their first List of A-League champions in A-League 2007-08 by goal difference, holding on after starting the season strongly. The Mariners defeated Local derby rivals Newcastle Jets in the major semi-final to qualify for the A-League Grand Final 2008, 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 Brisbane Roar FC in the minor semi-final legs 2–0 at home and 2–1 away. The club made its debut in the 2009 AFC Champions League in 2009, finishing bottom of their group after amassing 2 points after 2 draws and losing the remaining 4 games. After a change of manager and squad transfers, the 2010-11 season was more successful for the club, with the A-league and youth league teams finishing second in their respective leagues.


Lawrie McKinna era

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 Australia national football (soccer) 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 FC coach Lawrie McKinna as manager and Ian Ferguson (footballer born 1967), a former Rangers F.C. 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 Federation Australia 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' Salary cap A-League 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 (Australian entrepreneur), the clubs financial worries were eased. McKinna was keen to sign local player Damien Brown of Bateau Bay, New South Wales, formerly of the Newcastle United Jets FC. 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 FC 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 Central Coast Mariners FC Season 2005-06 was considered a resounding success by many, with the team reaching the List of A-League champions 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 A-League 2005-06 Pre-Season Challenge Cup, defeating Perth Glory FC in the final 1–0.

The Mariners developed a strong rivalry with Newcastle United Jets FC 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 A-League 2006-07, the Mariners secured the services of then Australia national football team Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda for two years. This was the Mariners' first Salary cap A-League, following the lead of Sydney FC (Dwight Yorke) and Adelaide United (Qu Shengqing). The Coast again reached the grand final of the A-League 2006-07 Pre-Season Challenge Cup, losing to Adelaide United 5–4 on Penalty kick (football) after scores were tied 1–1 after extra time. Central Coast then participated in the A-League 2006-07, however were unable to gain a spot in the final series, finishing sixth after the regular season.

In February 2008, 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 Ferencvárosi TC of Hungary, Chengdu Blades of China, São Paulo FC of Brazil and White Star Woluwé F.C. of Belgium benefits the club by providing an opportunity for the youth programme of the club to develop by touring the world and developing 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 led the way out of the many fine Youth Academy players that it is hoped could take advantage of this overseas link.

The 2007–08 season saw Central Coast win their first premiership on goal difference ahead of Newcastle, following a remarkable final round which began with all four of the top teams equal on 31 points. The final series began badly for the club, losing the first leg of their major semi final 2–0 in Newcastle however they were able to come back to be 2–0 ahead in the second leg after 90 minutes, taking the match to extra time. A 95th minute goal then won the tie for Central Coast 3–2 on aggregate, putting them through to the grand final, where they again faced Newcastle. Newcastle defeated Central Coast 1–0 in the grand final, however the match ended in controversy with what replays have shown to be a hand-ball in the Central Coast penalty box, which would have given Central Coast a penalty and a chance to equalise. In a heated discussion after the penalty was not given, goalkeeper Danny Vukovic brushed away the Referee's hand, this was controversially referred to as a strike resulting in Vukovic's immediate send off and later suspension.

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

Due to Central Coast Mariners losing their first choice keeper for the first couple months of the season, the Mariners signed high profile former Manchester United and Socceroos keeper, Mark Bosnich, on a seven week contract. This is the first time Bosnich had played professional football since 2003, due to drug problems.

The 2008–09 season was disappointing compared to the standards set in the previous season, although the club narrowly qualified for the finals, finishing in fourth, two points ahead of Sydney F.C. and Wellington Phoenix. They lost 4–1 on aggregrate in their minor semi-final against Queensland Roar, ending their season.

Arrival of Graham Arnold

In February 2010, following the conclusion of the club's disappointing 2009-10 season, McKinna chose to move into a new role, becoming the club's Football and Commercial Operations Manager. Socceroos assistant manager Graham Arnold was appointed as the club's new manager, becoming only the club's second manager.

In the lead-up to the 2010-11 season, a number of transfers took place, resulting in a number of changes to the club's squad. In June 2010, the club announced the signing of Argentine 2005 Under 20’s World Cup winner Patricio Perez, followed by Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk.

In July 2010, it was announced that the Mariner's W-League Women's team would not compete in the 2010–11 Westfield W-league competition. The club stated financial reasons were behind the decision, after Football NSW withdrew its funding.

In spite of relatively low expectations in the lead up to the season, the 2010-11 season was extremely successful for the club, with the A-league and youth league teams both finishing 2nd in their respective leagues in the regular season. The senior team were then defeated by the premiers, Brisbane Roar, 4-2 on aggregate over two legs in their major semi-final, before defeating Gold Coast United 1-0 in the Preliminary Final to qualify for the grand final against Brisbane. By reaching the grand final, the club also qualified for the 2012 AFC Champions League. In a thrilling grand final, the Mariners were defeated 4-2 in a penalty shootout after leading 2-0 with three minutes remaining in extra time to finish runners-up for the third time.

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 Central Coast Mariners FC Season 2005-06. 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 A-League 2005-06.


The Central Coast Mariners play their home games at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. It is located in Grahame Park, between the Gosford Central Business District 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 station, New South Wales 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 A-League 2007-08.


The main supporter base of the Central Coast Mariners are called the Yellow Army.
Formerly known as the Marinators, they are a group that can often be seen at home games played at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, New South Wales but are unfortunately relatively unknown in their local region. Standard chants include the Yellow Submarine (song)-inspired "We all follow a yellow football team", a reference to the colour of the team's kit (which is blue). (

The Yellow Army are an informal self-identifying supporter base that is vocal at home and away games.

Affiliated clubs

- Sheffield United
- São Paulo FC
- Chengdu Blades
- Ferencvárosi TC
- Central Coast Lightning
- Strindheim IL
- Tata Football Academy
- Estudiantes de La Plata
- White Star Woluwé

A-League Squad

(on loan from Heart of Midlothian F.C.)

(on loan from Borussia Dortmund)

Has been given senior contracts ( <---->

Youth League Squad

Former notable players

- Patricio Pérez
- John Aloisi
- Michael Beauchamp
- Nigel Boogaard
- Mark Bosnich
- Damien Brown
- Dean Heffernan
- Mile Jedinak
- Dylan Macallister
- Damian Mori
- Sasho Petrovski
- Tom Pondeljak
- Noel Spencer
- Tony Vidmar
- Danny Vukovic
- Nicky Travis
- André Gumprecht
- Wayne O'Sullivan
- Ian Ferguson (footballer born 1967)
- Stewart Petrie
has played the most games for the Mariners in A-League competition, with 144. Wilkinson played in every competitive match for the Central Coast Mariners during the first two seasons of the A-League competition.

Australia's Adam Kwasnik and Matt Simon have scored the equal most goals for Central Coast in the A-League competition, with 29 apiece.

The Mariners highest attendance at their home stadium, Bluetongue Stadium, is 19,238 against the Newcastle Jets in its round 19 match of A-League 2007-08. 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.

A-League top scorers

Club officials

Board of Directors

- Patron: Neville Wran

- Chairman: Peter Turnbull
- Director: Kevin McCabe (businessman)
- Director: Michael Charlesworth
- Director: Bob Graham (Australian politician)
- Director: Belinda Neal

- Chief Executive Officer: John McKay (businessman)

Football Department

- Head Coach: Graham Arnold
- Football Operations Manager: None
- Assistant Coach: Phil Moss
- Assistant Coach and Youth Coach: Tony Walmsley
- Youth Development Co-ordinator: Damien Brown
- Head of Sports Science / Fitness Coach: Andrew Clark (footballer)
- Goalkeeping Coach: John Crawley (footballer)


- - Winners (1): 2007–08 A-League

- List of A-League champions A-League Champions:
- - Runners-up (3): 2005–06 A-League,

- A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup Premiers:
- - Winners (1): 2005–06 A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup The all-time record crowd at the stadium is also 20,059 - recorded during a National Rugby League match - making it implausible for that figure to also be the maximum capacity.

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