The Central Coast Mariners have been in the news the last few weeks once again for all the wrong reasons. Claims of players not being paid superannuation entitlements has just lumped more controversy around the club currently sitting dead last on the A-League ladder and needing drastic action to turn their season around.
As a devoted fan, this really does hurt to see bad publicity surrounding the club once more. To me, this is a club that is so unique in Australia.
A community club which represents 300,000 people wedged between the bright lights of Sydney in the south and the working class mining community Newcastle to the north. I’ve never felt so passionate or deeply connected to a sporting team like l do with the Mariners. I’m a born and raised Coastie who loves his team and wants them to put it plainly; sort their shit out.
This little club has been a huge part of my life for about 5 years now, admittedly, l was a late bloomer when it came to supporting the team. I went to games occasionally those first few years but it wasn’t until l was in high school and got more involved that l found a purpose and a place to belong. This side have produced such immense talent over the years with Mile Jedinak plying his trade in England with Crystal Palace, Mustafa Amini who was once at Borussia Dortmund, Bernie Ibini now with Club Brugge, Mitch Duke in Japan and last but not least Maty Ryan who will be the Socceroos no.1 for the next 10 or more years who is now at Valencia, a powerhouse of Spanish football.
My point here is, that this club is an asset to Australian football and l truly believe they should be around in the A-League for at least the next 10 years. I sure hope they are.
While the Mariners are a priority for myself, there was a bigger issue that arose because It seemed as if the whole of Australian football couldn’t escape from the clutches of bad press. This all began with the now infamous Daily Telegraph article from Rebecca Wilson where she exposed the names of banned A-League fans. This to me, and I’m sure many Aussie football fans felt the same way, was a massive preach of privacy and an attack on the beautiful game from a person who clearly has an agenda against the game.
This gross miscarriage of justice which occurred was nothing short of staggering where innocent people had their names and faces published and some have had their lives ruined. This to me, and I’m sure many Aussie football fans felt the same way, was a massive preach of privacy and an attack on the beautiful game from a person who clearly has an agenda against the game. This gross miscarriage of justice which occurred was nothing short of staggering where innocent people had their names and faces published and some have had their lives ruined.
The FFA seemed unwilling to even acknowledge the problem and that enraged the Aussie football community and led them to take a stand. The boycott of games were a massive statement and one that finally made the FFA take notice. As an active fan myself, l felt proud to stand up for myself and my fellow fans but also, it was a very tough thing to do because you feel bad for walking out on your team. We all love our football teams, this wasn’t about them but it was about taking a stand and l feel as a collective, we accomplished that.
As those events were taking place, my team, were on a horror run of results which didn’t look like changing anytime soon. A 5-1 loss to Melbourne City while we were at the pub was the low point of the season and there must be a change in results if there is to be any hope of playing finals or God forbid, getting away from the dreaded wooden spoon. First, the off-field issues of phone gate which emerged of someone being accused of leaking tactics to Sydney FC before a game where our old favourite son scored 2 against us. That hurt. Then now it is about the non-payment of superannuation which could see players leave in January.
While this could all be media speculation, it is no doubt detrimental to the on-field product no matter how much it will be denied by people within the club. I for one feel as if the paying out of Eddy Bosnar and Liam Reddy’s contracts to get them off our books may have contributed to this situation but that is of course, just my own opinion.
The moving of games away from Gosford is also a hot topic that rages on with the game this season in Geelong bringing in extra revenue for the club and l can live with that. If taking 2 games away from Gosford a season for the club to have a chance to make a profit and to still be around in 10 years, l am ok with that. Just as long as we can escape from the debacle that was taking games to North Sydney and North Sydney Oval which was so bad for football. Seriously, who thought playing football on a cricket ground was a good idea?
Taking games to Canberra and the Gold Coast, while not ideal, can still be away days, and for me, l love a good away day.
Mike Charlesworth who is the Mariners owner, is also a point of contention for all Mariners fans as many feel that he doesn’t do enough for us financial wise, to be able to sign top class, but expensive players. We operate at a lower part of the salary cap to other clubs and l feel as if a marquee is spending unnecessary money. I’ve been in agreeance with this but l have changed my tune lately as a marquee is maybe something that we need to entice more people back to games.
Being last and conceding plenty of goals is a turn off for fans for sure. Although there has been a club wide movement this season with a youth policy philosophy which has become something that head coach Tony Walmsley and Mike Charlesworth fully endorse, it may be something that has to be changed to turn results around, or as l think will happen, we will stick with a youth policy and begin to see results in the future. Many won’t have the patience. It will be good to have a chat with Mike on the Yellow Army Podcast very soon which l am lucky enough to be on along with Luke Boyce-Taylor and Phillip James. (Sneaky plug)
l stand behind my fellow football fans, my fellow Mariners fans, and hope Aussie football can sort its issues out and also, l hope my team can sort its stuff out because l want a football team to support in 10 years as l sure as hell won’t be supporting anyone else.Google+