Monday, 30 April 2012
The Central Coast Mariners have improved their offer to coach Graham Arnold in a bid to stop him joining A-League rivals Sydney FC.
Arnold - who led the Mariners to a grand final in 2010/11 and the premiers' plate in 2011/12 - is reported to be weighing up a big-money offer from Sydney FC.
But Central Coast still remain hopeful of retaining Arnold's services, and chairman Peter Turnbull confirmed to the club's members they would do all they can to keep the former Socceroos manager.
"There has been a substantial amount of media speculation recently suggesting that Graham Arnold has already signed with Sydney FC," Turnbull wrote.
"In fact, what is true is that Sydney have tabled a very substantial offer for 'Arnie', which he is considering. However, we have recently lodged what we consider to be a very attractive counter-offer and have been speaking with Graham at every available opportunity.
"What must also be remembered is that in the case of the Mariners, we have had finals series football and the AFC Champions League to play in recent weeks.
"As such, we have needed to be mindful not to interfere in any way with the team's preparation as we have a clear desire to excel in every competition in which we compete.
"Our offer for Graham Arnold to remain as head coach of our club is for an increased amount, and for an additional season."
Central Coast face Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Teda at Bluetongue Stadium on Tuesday in the Asian Champions League and for the moment, Arnold's focus is firmly on that.
The 48-year-old is confident his team can secure all three points in front of their home fans in Gosford.
"The build-up has been fantastic, we've got the power back in the legs after a hectic schedule," Arnold said.
"The boys have trained the house down so I'm expecting a fantastic performance. The challenge for every one of us is to try and get our first victory in this competition."
Central Coast's last outing in the Asian Champions League saw them thumped 5-0 by Seongnam Ilhwa of the K-League.
And Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson says the playing group are desperate to make amends for their disappointing performance in Korea.
"That performance was nowhere near good enough but it's over now, we've moved on," Wilkinson said.
"It has been nice to freshen up. It should be an entertaining match because both teams need to win."
One Mariners player especially keen to impress is attacking midfielder Mustafa Amini, who will be playing his final home game before linking up with parent club Borussia Dortmund at the end of May.