Moss: "Back to business in Japan"

THE big news of the week was the decision by Mariners head coach Graham Arnold to knock back Sydney FC to stay on the coast.

THE big news of the week was the decision by Mariners head coach Graham Arnold to knock back Sydney FC to stay on the coast.

And what a shot in the arm that has given the whole club and region heading into Tuesday night-s do-or-die final group match of the Asian Champions League against Japanese powerhouse Nagoya Grampus in Nagoya.

“Arnie-s” decision was met with incredible enthusiasm by club management, the players, staff and supporters and shows what an indelible mark he has left on the Central Coast Mariners in two seasons so far.

He loves turning up for work each day and the reaction to his decision this week shows the feeling is mutual amongst his players and staff.

It was fitting that his decision was announced by Mariners director Bob Graham at a civic reception put on by Gosford Council on Monday afternoon at which ‘Arnie- and skipper Alex Wilkinson were handed the “Keys to the City” in recognition of the club-s Premier-s Plate - and youth league premier-s plate - triumphs this season.

Loyalty in sport is an almost extinct ingredient but his decision to see out his three year contract shows in no uncertain terms how he feels about this club, his players and staff.

It is now up to all of us to repay that loyalty and faith by stepping up another gear - firstly for the remainder of the ACL campaign and then again next season.

This group of players has more improvement left in them and that was also a key reason behind the decision to stay.

‘Arnie-s- decision has given the club-s well-known stability an even stronger look following on from last Friday-s announcement that inaugural coach Lawrie McKinna is also back on board as the technical director of football.

That was announced at the club-s end of season awards night - a glittering affair held at the Kooindah Waters resort. It was a fabulous night capped off by young goalkeeper Matty Ryan adding to his plethora of trophies by winning the Mariner-s Medal for players- player of the year. Midfielder Michael McGlinchey was awarded the Supporters Player of the Year Award while defender Patrick Zwaanswijk amazingly finished joint Golden Boot winner with strikers Bernie Ibini-Isei and the departed Matty Simon. Niko Stanojevic took out the youth league players- player gong.

With the awards now out of the way it-s back to business with Tuesday-s winner-takes-all clash against Nagoya in Japan.

We-ve had two weeks of meticulous preparation for this match and it-s a challenge we are all looking forward to. The players created history in our last ACL match by notching up the club-s first victory in the tournament and now we are looking to take that a step further by qualifying for the lucrative knock-out stage.

Strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride as always!