Today at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, CEO Shaun Mielekamp fronted the media in the wake of Paul Okon’s departure.
Whilst the press conference took place, Caretaker Coach Wayne O’Sullivan took charge of his first training session at the helm of the Mariners.
Mielekamp emphasised the importance of the club’s impending coaching appointment, urged the fans to continue their support and spoke about continuing the growth of the Central Coast Mariners Football Club.
Key quotes from Shaun Mielekamp’s press conference:
“There are plenty of experienced players in the group, plenty of players who have been through these moments before. I spoke to them all this morning, and everyone is focused on the job at hand. The energy that we can see out there has been very positive today, everyone is really focused on the weekend, and sticking together and being strong for the club.
“There’s never a good time. That’s the way the cards have fallen, so we’ve got to move forward.
“We [Paul Okon and the club] have been in conversation for some time about what the future looks like, and it became clear that it was untenable for a future with Paolo, so it was decided yesterday that we would mutually part ways.
“We are getting stronger, we are headed in the right direction and we have got to keep going in that direction. This club is really built on the community, our basis is there, and there is no easy fix – there’s no lightning bolts. For us it’s about rolling our sleeves up, getting everything right and making sure we step forward from this point. The last two years we’ve stepped in a positive direction, and now we have to make sure that the next step is another step forward.
“There’s a long list [coaching candidates]. We’ve got a lot more clarity as to what we’re looking for moving forward - the type of coach, the type of personality that we need to take us on the journey to the next step, but we will take our time to make sure we get it 100% right. It could be one of the most important appointments in the history of the club, so we can’t make a mistake.
“We are looking for someone to take us forward, to understand everything that we’ve done, the journey that we’ve been through, what we do, what our philosophy is as a club, and how to evolve it, how to take it forward. We need someone with a lot of experience and credibility, and ability to take us forward. We’ll go through that process, there’s a long list. It’s a really important decision, we can’t get it wrong.
“[Paul Okon] took us a long way forward. He is a brilliant coach, and he has done some brilliant things for this club that will stay with the club for a long time. We can only thank him deeply for what he has brought to this club, what we have learnt from him. It was just a matter of we were moving in different directions.
“The players, like everyone else, will be waiting to see what the coaching appointment looks like, for those who are off contract, but we will be speaking with all the players, and I spoke to them all this morning, and the door is always open for all of them.
“It’s about really understanding why we would make a decision without the coach in place [to re-sign a player], and why a player would accept that. In saying that, there are plenty of reasons why the answer would be yes. There’s plenty of reasons to say that there is young talent coming through that has the heart and soul of this club in their DNA, so why wouldn’t look to keep them in the club. There are some players who want to wait, until the coaching appointment is there. So, it’s a pressure moment for us, but if we take it all case by case, we will make the right decisions, and we will definitely put a lot of work in to get it right.
“The key message is that we need you more than ever [supporters]. We are the community club, and so we need the community behind us through this time. I’m not going to deny that this is a tough time for the club, but it’s also an opportunity for us to be strong and show that we’re together. There are plenty of boys who are going to put their heart and soul out onto the pitch, and I’d like to see everyone get behind them.
“It means that we learn from past mistakes, it means that we make sure that we’ve got every resource available and we leave no stone unturned. It’s a clichéd statement but it’s something that we need to focus on. With every decision, with every recruitment, with every appointment that comes through, we know exactly why, and the whole club is behind that decision,” Mielekamp said.