Centre of excellence no longer a pipedream

The Central Coast Mariners’ plans to become the centre of excellence for football in Australia received its strongest endorsement yet a fortnight ago and work has now begun in earnest to construct and develop a truly world class facility for the Mariners and an unparalleled community asset for the Central Coast.

The Central Coast Mariners- plans to become the centre of excellence for football in Australia received its strongest endorsement yet a fortnight ago and work has now begun in earnest to construct and develop a truly world class facility for the Mariners and an unparalleled community asset for the Central Coast.

On Sunday, 7 December at an extraordinary meeting of the Wyong RSL, its members overwhelmingly agreed - by vote of 312 to 0 - to combine with the newly formed Mariners Trust, chaired by Mariners Deputy Chairman Peter Turnbull, to develop the Mariners at Tuggerah complex.

The Mariners at Tuggerah complex will be situated on a total of approximately 22 acres at Tuggerah and has been designed with tremendous support from councillors and senior management at Wyong Shire Council and will boast world-class facilities that will host the Mariners in every sense.

The Mariners at Tuggerah site will feature seven full sized playing fields, including a boutique arena, eight Futsal courts, an administration building of six storey-s, a sports science building, a 120-room accommodation block, an indoor aquatic centre, gymnasium, refurbished licensed club and 400 people capacity function centre.

"We must firstly thank and congratulate the members of Wyong RSL and the management of Wyong Council for identifying with the Mariners- ambition to become the centre of excellence for football in Australia," said Mariners Deputy Chairman Peter Turnbull.

"With their overwhelming support, we-ve overcome a significant hurdle from a planning perspective and can now begin the process of implementing a facility that will be the pre-eminent of its kind in Australia and perhaps the southern hemisphere.

"These are truly exciting times for Australian football and for the Mariners and this initiative will launch our club into a different echelon and really set us apart from our competitors.

"Moreover, it will provide the people of the Central Coast and those who want to see the progression of Australian football with a truly world-class asset that will attract visitors locally and internationally."

As well as being a training base for the Mariners- Hyundai A-League, National Youth League (NYL) and Westfield W-League squads, it is intended to stage NYL and Westfield W-League fixtures at the boutique arena that will make up one of the seven full sized football fields on the premises.

Furthermore, the Mariners at Tuggerah site will host the Mariners Academy, while local club Tuggerah United, who currently play out of the existing grounds at Tuggerah, will continue to utilise some of the fields for its normal use.

The Mariners at Tuggerah site will also provide an ideal base for visiting Hyundai A-League, NYL and Westfield W-League opponents from an accommodation and training perspective, with the same expected from future AFC Champions League opponents and other professional clubs including, but not limited to, the Mariners- worldwide network of partner clubs headed by England-s Sheffield United.

"The next step is to lodge the Development Application to Wyong Shire Council in March of next year, with the hope of receiving approval by June," said Turnbull.

"We-ll then need to prepare full engineering and construction drawings for tenders to be issued in September.

"We anticipate to start building on 5 January, 2010 and from there on we anticipate a build time of fourteen months."

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League season continues at the EnergyAustralia Stadium home derby rivals the Newcastle Jets on Friday, 26 December. Kick off is at 8pm.

The Mariners return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Wednesday, 31 December - New Year-s Eve - for the showpiece of their annual summer holiday extravaganza, which will culminate with a Hyundai A-League fixture against the Perth Glory. Kick off is at 6pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.

For more information regarding the Gosford waterfront New Year-s Eve festival, visit www.gosfordnye.com.au.