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The Mariners must survive.

A-League reigning premiers, the Central Coast Mariners, are in somewhat dire financial straits. With a crucial takeover potentially falling through, and the FFA unable/unwilling to provide financial aid, the club is perilously close to collapsing. The Gosford based side are sitting at second-place, doggedly chasing down the first-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, who I love so much – begging the question, “Why am I writing an article in their defence?”

Well, let me tell you.CCMvSB-mariners-huddle

Each and every one of us who follows an Australian football team, whether it be Western Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, is therefore invested in the stakes of the A-League. Each year we cheer passionately for our club, we put in hours following their highs and lows – all desiring the same overall goal: success. But what good is success in the A-League, if the A-League’s highest standard is not worth cheering for?

Let’s face it, Australia’s top-tier league is nowhere near the footballing quality of European competitions such as the Bundesliga, La Liga and English Premier League. If we wanted to watch world-dominating stars such as Leo Messi or Robin Van Persie we would tune into our television sets, or move overseas. So, why then, do we love this league?

The beauty of the A-League is that it is Australian. We are a country that has always been incredibly proud of our sporting prowess and local talent. Ingrained into Australian sportsmen and women is an attitude unique to any other. Locals come to A-League games to watch teams that truly represent their community more adequately than the attractive styling’s of Barcelona ever will.

Sure, we have foreign imports that help boost the standard of football, but the focus of the A-League has always been to host teams that both proudly represent their local communities and act as a platform for the development of young Aussie (and Kiwi) talent. These principles are highlighted in regulations such as the salary cap and the limit on international players. Success in the A-League is achieving both of these criteria to the highest extent. This is why we cheer for our respective teams and this is what each and every one of us truly hope for our clubs (whoever they are) to accomplish.

Arguably no other team has achieved this standard more consistently than the Central Coast Mariners. The Gosford based side have been here since the very first A-League season in 2004, where they participated in the first ever Grand Final. Out of the eight A-League seasons (including this one) they have qualified for six finals series (more than any other team), been in three Grand Finals, have been Premiers twice and finished in the top four a total of six times. On the All-Time A-League Ladder they sit at second, behind my Western Sydney Wanderers – a stat somewhat misleading as the Wanderers have only been in only one season compared to the Mariner’s eight. The Mariners have won 83 games in the A-League’s history, more than anybody else, and have by far the best goal-difference.

Amazing how such a small side, based on Sydney’s Central Coast has been so consistently successful – the most successful, in fact. With a male population of just over 150 000, who are more likely to be caught surfing than playing football (excuse the stereotype), this is some feat. But it does not stop there – one simply has to look at the wealth of talent the club has produced and developed over the years to see just what I’m talking about.

A quick glance at the winners of the annually-awarded Mariners Medal demonstrates some of the players they have nurtured over the years: Michael Beauchamp, Danny Vukovic, Mile Jedinak, Matt Simon, Joshua Rose and Mat Ryan. Beauchamp is a Socceroo and currently the captain of high-flying Western Sydney. Mile Jedinak is the captain and hero of English championship side, Crystal Palace. Matt Simon was one of the league’s most regular scorers and has since moved abroad. Mat Ryan is one of Australia’s hottest goalkeeping prospects, seemingly set for a very successful career in bigger leagues around the planet. Then you can’t look past other former players such as young Mustafa Amini who plays for German champions, Borussia Dortmund, or Tom Rogic who plays for Scottish champions, Celtic; the list goes on, Rostyn Griffiths, Alex Wilkinson, Hutchinson and I haven’t even mentioned their current team yet.

They have a knack for producing really good players, and giving them the proper platform to reach their potential. Their current squad boasts youngsters such as Bernie Ibini, Mat Ryan, Mitchell Duke, Trent Sainsbury, Nick Fitzgerald and Zac Anderson who are all potential future Socceroos stars. I could wax lyrical for hours, but I hope by now you get (and are potentially sick of) my point.BluetongueCrowd

I’ve travelled to Gosford multiple times before the advent of the Wanderers (unable to find any sort of passion in Sydney FC) and have always been impressed with the exciting, upbeat attitude towards the club. Walking around the outskirts of Bluetongue Stadium, the streets are full of people in Yellow and Blue jerseys, stores have Mariners scarves and banners stretched across their windows. Sitting in Bluetongue with my dad as the sun sets and sparkles off the bay is almost magical. The stadium buzzes, everyone lifts to the tune of Avicii’s “Levels” or Coldplay’s “Yellow” as they blast across the PA and the crowd erupts as their heroes walk onto the pitch. Though attendances have dropped in recent years, there is no doubting the fact that those who do show up each week have as much love for their club as any other group of fans in the league. And it’s not difficult to see why.

It is hard to argue against this fact: the Central Coast Mariners represent the perfect A-League club – able to achieve consistent success [without splashing cash], and proudly representing their local community. It is for this reason that no matter what club you support, we should all unite in defence of the Mariners in these times of economic trouble. In the same way that football fans in this country bond together when under attack from the media, we need to show that the football family is ready to stand together in defence of our brothers.

If the Mariners were to collapse, the FFA unable to support them, a club that defines everything we hope to achieve as A-League fans will have died. We can not let this happen. If Football Federation Australia truly believes in their A-League, they must rescue a club that epitomises exactly what the league sets out to accomplish, a club that demonstrates the standard of success we should all desire. There’s more to a football club than money and profit – there’s the tears, sweat and blood of fans and players; there’s victory, defeat and the battle for success; there’s a culture, a passion, a family… if the Mariners collapse then these values will prove to mean little in the A-League, something all of us who follow clubs within it should not accept.

I’m a hugely fanatical Western Sydney Wanderers fan, and would hate it if the Mariners somehow beat us to the premiership or championship this season. And boy did I enjoy stealing first place from them in Gosford all those weeks ago. But I know that if clubs like mine are to be successful, then clubs like the Mariners must not disappear and have to be supported.

Follow me on Twitter: @userlastname

About Daniel Palmer (50 Articles)
Daniel is a longtime fan of football, and more recently a passionate Western Sydney Wanderers kid and a proud member of the RBB. Hosts FTSAUS Podcast. Has a valid and interesting opinion about Australian Football. His lifelong dream is to be pre-game presenter at Parramatta Stadium. Follow on Twitter: @userlastname
Contact: Twitter
  • Joe Avvenevole

    Thank you.

  • Veronica

    I’m in tears, beautifully written article.

  • Grant

    beautifully said. as a CCM fan your comments are deeply appreciated. I love the Mariners if for nothing else than for what it has done for the community. they give a focal point for soul, they are, as you say, my team and make me proud.
    what you say about the football community standing shoulder to shoulder is true and I’m happy you highlighted this. when recently bitter rivals Newcastle were in a similar predicament ALL Mariners fans I spoke to or heard from were horrified at the thought of them going under and it’s these times that remind you that, love em or hate em, your football brothers and sisters are just that, part of the family and need to be supported through the hard times, for the good of us all

  • Jimmy

    Well done mate.
    Great article and let’s hope the bloodsuckers at FFA$ have read it to.
    Looking forward to stuffing you in the Grand Final and reminding you how lucky you were at BT a few weeks ago.
    You, like the Wanderers are a breath of fresh air for Australian Football.
    COYY.

    • Daniel Palmer

      Aha, cheers mate 🙂 Good luck with that – looking forward to Dino putting a few past Ryan and cheering some more of your missed penalties.

  • Thanks

    As a Mariner fan I appreciate your tho’s

  • Mr Celery

    From a Mariners Bay 16 Yellow Army regular, terrific article. Captures the essence of what it is to be a true fan. No wonder WSW is doing so well with their fan base if you are an example. Thanks for your support. Like you I am an out-of-towner. One that attends every game of the wonderful Club that the Mariners are. Long may it continue.

  • Forum Phoenix

    Thank you. Your attitude is the hope and future of football in this country.

    Best Wishes

    FP

  • Dave C

    as a CCM fan, this story gets my vote too. your well-articulated insights put a lot of paid journalists to shame! I’m positive about CCM surviving this one way or another. the existence of CCM on the coast is the glue that holds a lot of us ex-Sydney nomads together and I’d hate to see things revert to the doldrums of pre-CCM Gosford. so once again. cheers.

  • Kai

    From an A League survivability point of view, it doesn’t matter which team you support, what matters is that Australians support a team….and go to their matches.

  • Thompson Family

    As a CCM fan I appreciate your article and only hope that the powers that be (FFA) take notice. We are a family of 4 generations that attend Bluetongue and would be devestated if CCM were no longer in the A League. Long Live the Mariners.

  • John

    Such a well written article. From a mariners supporter who hasn’t missed more than a couple home games in years now, this shows how passionate we are about having a successful football competition. Thanks for that. As true yellow and blue as I am, the ONLY other team I’d handle losing the title to is WSW, as they’ve proved a valuable addition to the competition and have overcome so many obstacles with passionate fighting spirit. They’re the only other team I will not miss watching play each round. Hopefully the FFA pull their fingers out!

  • John

    Such a well written article. From a mariners supporter who hasn’t missed more than a couple home games in years now, this shows how passionate we are about having a successful football competition. Thanks for that. As true yellow and blue as I am, the ONLY other team I’d handle losing the title to is WSW, as they’ve proved a valuable addition to the competition and have overcome so many obstacles with passionate fighting spirit. They’re the only other team I will not miss watching play each round. Hopefully the FFA pull their fingers out!

  • Goldie

    Great article. I was a massive WSW fan until they overtook us. haha. I hope ours, yours and the A League’s success continues!!

  • S VonKrumm

    Thanks for the fantastic article Daniel. You have articulated precisely my thoughts on this subject.

    I am very glad that you have taken the time to check the Mariners’ stats. They lead or are second in almost all stats that you’d care to mention (even most Grand Finals without a win!).

    I hope WSW truly taps the passion of the Western Sydney community. My parents brought football passion with them from Europe. I grew up in Ermington and the Blue Mountains, so the west and football is part of me. I have followed the Mariners since the A-League’s inception.

    Great work and good luck in the coming finals series.

  • Vanessa

    What a great article. You have captured exactly what we are as the central coast mariners!
    It’s great to think that we are not alone in fighting this battle.

    I cried reading your article.
    It was fabrastic.
    I am sharing it on my FB for all to see!

  • nathC

    Great article. I had a few tears welling up inside..

    But one thing the Central Coast IS NOT part of sydney.

  • Jeannie

    Great article, beautifully written. As a Mariners Supporter from day one I know it will be greatly appreciated by all Mariners fans to have an someone on the outside writing such great comments. I for one would be devastated if the club ceased to exist, it’s been part of my life for the last 8 years and can’t imagine life without it, here’s hoping that their money woes are resolved so we can enjoy many more seasons from the most consistent team in the A-league , they really do deserve more…

  • Fishy

    This is definitley one of the best football articles I have ever read… being a mariners fan since season one I can relate to everything you said… gone through the highs and the lows… FFA needs to wake up and see that if football in this country is going to keep moving forward, they cant keep killing off teams. Great article mate!

  • david holmes

    A excellently written artical very well researched . MY family and i travel from Wollongong to watch the mariners .I was a Wolllongong Wolves supporter in the old NSL but they too were beset with money problems and managment mismanagement from soccer australia at the time We too enjoy sitting in the stands supporting the boys ,it would be a crying shame if fountation member were to fail .I hope the league hasnt expanded too quickly to support this expanded league .

  • Julie-Anne Rogers

    Thank you so much for that! You won’t find much more of a loving fan base than on the Central Coast for our Mighty Mariners.

  • Andrea Konemann

    I share everyone’s opinion above this and most probably after.. I also was in tears reading your article.. I would be devastated if CCM folded. I have been a member for only the last 3yrs, but love them and NEVER miss a home game…

  • Paula

    What a fantastic article! So well written and really embodies what it is to be a Mariners fan. Makes me proud to be a Coastie and passionate CCM fan ’till the day I die’… Thank you

  • Jackie

    We appreciate this article and all it stands for! The game is bigger then a club or a team! Yes we do support our favorites but at the end of the day for the good of the game we cannot allow teams to go under! We are a great team and are worthy of survival! We epitomize a fair go for all the brilliance the youth of Australia has to offer!! Support us and you will have a better league!

  • Lorraine & Peter Perry

    Go Mariners, please dont fold, we have supported you from the beginning, so many great players.
    We known so may personally