Central Coast Mariners FC

Central Coast Mariners FC
Central Coast Mariners
Central Coast FC Logo
Full name Central Coast Mariners Football Club
Nickname(s) Mariners
Founded 2004
Ground Bluetongue Stadium,
(Capacity: 20,119)
Chairman Australia Peter Turnbull
Manager Australia Graham Arnold
League A-League
2010-11 2nd (league)
2nd (finals)
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Central Coast Mariners Football Club is a professional football (soccer) club based on the Central Coast 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 to compete in a national competition,[1][2] and were formed during 2004 for the foundation of the A-League in 2005–06. Despite being considered one of the smaller franchises at the inception of the A-League competition,[2][3] Central Coast qualified for the first four domestic finals after their establishment.[4] The Mariners had a successful first season, winning the 2005 Pre-Season Cup and losing in the A-League grand final to Sydney FC.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] In the 2008/2009 season The Mariners finished the home and away season in fourth place before slumping to 2 defeats from the Queensland Roar in the minor semi-final legs 2–0 at home and 2–1 away.

2009 also saw the club make its debut in the AFC Champions League,[8] finishing bottom of their group after amassing 2 points after 2 draws and losing the remaining 4 games.



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.[9] 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.[10] As the only regional bidder, the Mariners were expected to make it in to the league by default.[11] Following a reported signed deal with the FFA,[12] the club signed former Northern Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna as manager and Ian Ferguson, a former Rangers and Northern Spirit player as coach.[13] 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.[14] After much expectation, the club was announced as one of eight teams to become part of Australian Soccer Association's domestic competition, the Hyundai A-League on 1 November 2004.[15][16]

At the time of the formation of the new league in 2004, the club was owned by Spirits Sports and Leisure Group.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20][21] McKinna was keen to sign local player Damien Brown of Bateau Bay, formerly of the Newcastle Jets.[22] 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.[23] By early December 2004, the club had created a steady foundation of player signings and began negotiations with former Perth Glory striker Nik Mrdja,[24] signing him later in the month as their star striker.[25] 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.[26] 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."[27]

The Mariners celebrate their 2005 Pre-Season Cup win at Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium.

The Mariners' inaugural season was considered a resounding success by many,[3][28] with the team reaching the A-League grand final after finishing third during the regular season.[29] 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.[30] The Mariners also won the 2005 Pre-Season Cup, defeating Perth Glory in the final 1–0.[31]

The Mariners developed a strong rivalry with Newcastle Jets throughout their first season, often referred to as The F3 Derby.[32] The naming is a reference to the unofficial designation of the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, the major motorway which joins the two clubs.[33]

Prior to the 2006–07 season, the Mariners secured the services of then Australian international Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda for two years.[34] This was the Mariners' first marquee signing, following the lead of Sydney FC (Dwight Yorke) and Adelaide United (Qu Shengqing).[35] 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.[36] 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.[6]

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.[37]

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 Ferencváros of Hungary, Chengdu Blades of China, São Paulo of Brazil and White Star Woluwé 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 an apparent hand-ball, which would have given Central Coast a penalty and a chance to equalise. Furious that the penalty was not given goalkeeper, Danny Vukovic struck the referee, for which he was immediately sent off and later banned.

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 FIFA in June, to include banning the young keeper from competing at the 2008 Olympic Games.[38] The ban involved games at all levels up till 6 October 2008.

Due to Central Coast 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.[39]

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.[40][41]

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.[42]

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.[43][44][45] 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.[46][47] By reaching the grand final, the club also qualified for the 2012 AFC Champions League.[48] 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.[49]

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.[50]

The Mariners enjoyed considerable success in the 2005–06 away strip.[51] 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 during the season.[51]

In the 2011-12 season, the Mariners will have their kits manufactured by Hummel, as the A-league's Reebok deal expired at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.

The team logo is a yellow football at the centre of a blue curling wave, which symbolises the beaches of the Central Coast.[52]


Bluetongue Stadium, with Brisbane Water shown partially at the top.

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 and is adjacent to the Central Coast Leagues Club.[53]

Two other names for the stadium have been used during the Mariners' tenancy: Central Coast Express Advocate Stadium and Central Coast Stadium.[54][55]

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,[I] the Mariners highest attendance is 19,238 against Newcastle Jets in its round 19 the 2007–08 season.[56]


The Marinators at an away game against rivals Newcastle Jets.

The main supporter base of the Central Coast Mariners is called the Yellow Army.[57] The Marinators, also known as Yellow army, are an obvious presence at home games played at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford and are known for their continuous singing and support coming primarily from Bay 16, which is directly behind the goal posts at the northern end of the stadium.[58][59] Standard chants include the Yellow Submarine-inspired "We all follow a yellow football team", a reference to the colour of the team's kit.[60]

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 region 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.[61]

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.[61]

Affiliated clubs

Current squad

A-League Squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia GK Matthew Ryan
2 Australia FW Daniel McBreen
3 Australia DF Joshua Rose
4 Australia DF Pedj Bojić
5 Australia MF Brad Porter
6 Netherlands DF Patrick Zwaanswijk
7 Malta MF John Hutchinson
8 Australia MF Rostyn Griffiths
9 Australia FW Bernie Ibini-Isei
10 Australia MF Adriano Pellegrino
11 Australia MF Oliver Bozanic
12 Australia MF Troy Hearfield
13 Australia MF Stuart Musialik
No. Position Player
14 New Zealand MF Michael McGlinchey
15 Australia DF Brad McDonald
16 Australia DF Trent Sainsbury
17 Australia FW Michael Baird
18 Australia DF Alex Wilkinson (Captain)
19 Australia FW Matt Simon
20 Australia GK Justin Pasfield
21 Australia DF Sam Gallagher
22 Australia MF Mustafa Amini (on loan from Borussia Dortmund)
23 Australia FW Adam Kwasnik
30 Australia GK Nathan Denham

Youth League Squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Australia GK Perry Mellon
Australia GK David Bradasevic
Australia GK Dylan Mitchell
Australia DF Jimmy Oates
Australia DF Hayden Morton
Australia DF Nick Littler
Australia MF Nikola Stanojevic
Australia MF Brendan Griffin
No. Position Player
Australia MF Joshua Da Silva
Australia MF Adam Jenner
Australia MF Anthony Caceres
Australia MF Zac Freeburn
Australia MF Ben Jurman
Australia FW Mitchell Duke
Australia FW Kwabena Appiah-Kubi

Former notable players



# Name First captaincy Games as captain Wins Draws Losses
1 Australia Noel Spencer 26 August 2005 40 13 14 13
2 Australia Alex Wilkinson 12 November 2006 97 42 23 32
3 Australia Tony Vidmar 31 August 2007 5 3 1 1
4 Malta John Hutchinson 23 September 2007 4 1 1 2
5 Australia John Aloisi 19 January 2008 1 1 0 0
6 Netherlands Patrick Zwaanswijk 8 October 2011 3 0 1 2


As of 10 March 2011. Only competitive matches are counted.

Club captain Alex Wilkinson 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.[62]

Australia's Adam Kwasnik and Matt Simon have scored the equal most goals for Central Coast in the A-League competition, with 29 apiece.[63][64]

The Mariners highest attendance at their home stadium, Bluetongue Stadium, 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.[65]

A-League top scorers
Name Goals Games Average Years
1 Australia Adam Kwasnik 29 113 0.26 2005–
1 Australia Matt Simon 29 100 0.29 2006–
3 Malta John Hutchinson 16 125 0.13 2005–
4 Australia Sasho Petrovski 14 44 0.32 2007–09
5 Australia Nik Mrdja 12 48 0.25 2005–2011
6 Scotland Stewart Petrie 10 41 0.24 2005–07
6 Australia Dean Heffernan 10 63 0.16 2005–2010
8 Australia Mile Jedinak 8 44 0.18 2005–08
9 Australia John Aloisi 7 15 0.47 2007–08
9 Australia Tom Pondeljak 7 55 0.13 2005–08
Table up-to-date as of 10 March 2011.

Mariners Medal

Every year, the Mariners Medal, the club's most prestigious award, is given to the player of the season, as voted by the playing group.

2005-06: Michael Beauchamp

2006-07: Danny Vukovic

2007-08: Mile Jedinak

2008-09: Matt Simon

2009-10: Danny Vukovic

2010-11: Joshua Rose

Year-by-year history

Central Coast League history
Season Teams Pre-Season Premiership Ladder
A-League Final
ACL Qualification ACL Placing
2005–06 8 Winners 3rd Qualified 2nd DNQ n/a
2006–07 8 2nd 6th DNQ 6th DNQ DNQ
2007–08 8 4th Premiers Qualified 2nd Qualified for 2009 DNQ
2008–09 8 3rd 4th Qualified 4th DNQ Group Stages (4th)
2009–10 10 8th DNQ 8th DNQ DNQ
2010–11 11 2nd Qualified 2nd Qualified for 2012 DNQ

Club officials

Board of Directors

  • Chairman: Australia Peter Turnbull
  • Director: England Kevin McCabe
  • Director: Australia Michael Charlesworth
  • Director: Australia Bob Graham
  • Director: Australia Belinda Neal
  • Chief Executive Officer: Australia John McKay

Football Department


As of 10 February 2011. Only competitive matches are counted.
Name Nat. From To Record
Lawrie McKinna Scotland 2004 2010 138 50 39 49 186 167
Graham Arnold Australia 2010 present 29 15 9 5 49 31


  • Oceania Club Championship Australian Qualifying Tournament:
    • Runners-up (1): 2005[66]
  • Pre-Season Cup:

All-time Matches Win/Loss


Last updated 16 May 2011

Club Pld W D L GF GA GD
Adelaide United 19 7 6 6 25 21 +4
Brisbane Roar 23 9 3 11 32 43 -11
Gold Coast United 6 2 2 2 10 7 +3
Melbourne Heart 3 2 1 0 3 1 +2
Melbourne Victory 18 6 4 8 28 29 -1
New Zealand Knights 6 4 1 1 7 3 +4
Newcastle Jets 23 8 8 7 27 21 +6
North Queensland Fury 6 4 2 0 12 5 +7
Perth Glory 18 11 5 2 31 15 +16
Sydney FC 19 5 6 8 29 31 -2
Wellington Phoenix 12 5 2 5 11 10 +1
Total 153 63 40 50 215 186 +29


Last updated 9 June 2011

Club Pld W D L GF GA GD
China Changchun Yatai 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1
New Caledonia New Caledonia 1 1 0 0 5 0 +5
China Jiangsu Sainty 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1
China Shandong Luneng 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2
China Tianjin Teda 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1
South Korea Pohang Steelers 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1
Japan Kawasaki Frontale 2 0 0 2 1 7 -6
Scotland Celtic FC 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1


I^i ^ii : 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.[1][67][68] 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.[2] This was due to a desperate lack of player numbers through injury during the Mariners' 2005–06 season.


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  38. ^ FIFA crush Vukovic's Olympic dream
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