In his speech at the 2017 #MarinersMedal Dinner, Central Coast Mariners Club Captain, Nick Montgomery announced his decision to retire from professional football and accept an off-field role with the club.
Montgomery signed with the Central Coast Mariners in the lead up to the 2012/13 Championship winning season and has been a mainstay in the midfield since joining the Club from Sheffield United.
The 35-year-old made over 400 competitive appearances for ‘The Blades’, including a season in the English Premier League. After earning Club Legend status at Sheffield United, ‘Monty’ arrived on the Central Coast to link with the Mariners and has made 116 Hyundai A-League appearances for the Yellow and Navy.
The Championship winning midfielder fast became a fan favourite on the Central Coast and was an obvious decision for captaincy when he was awarded the skipper’s armband from outgoing captain, John Hutchinson in 2015.
Montgomery found the back of the net three times during his career with the Mariners and signed off in style by winning the club’s ‘Noel Spencer Goal of the Year’ Award for his stunning strike against the Newcastle Jets in Hyundai A-League round 26, ultimately handing the Mariners’ fierce rivals the wooden spoon.In an exciting development for the club, Nick Montgomery has accepted the role of ‘Head of Football & Elite Performance’ which is a coup for the Mariners’ football department.
Montgomery will take on a key leadership role within the Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League, Foxtel National Youth League and Academy sides and ensure that the club’s values are maintained.
Drawing on over 500 games and 18 seasons as a professional footballer, Montgomery’s appointment marks a significant step forward in the Mariners’ off-field resources.
Central Coast Mariners CEO, Shaun Mielekamp thanked Nick Montgomery for his service to the club and outlined what his new role will entail.
“Monty is a champion and it is a great sign of where the club is headed that we are able to grow our resources and expertise in off field roles,” Mielekamp said. “For too long this has been an area that the Mariners have been the only club in the A-League not to employ someone in this vital role. He will provide support to Paolo and myself and be ingrained throughout the club to ensure that our culture, values, football operations and elite performance aspects of the club are working to absolute optimum levels.
“I know that it must have felt like the entire world was holding their breath to see what decision Nick would make and Nick showed just how much of a true professional he is in how he handled a very tough moment in any player’s journey. Now he starts a new chapter and I am sure that this is a very exciting one for him and his family, his loyalty to the club combined with his work ethic and genuine passion will play an integral role in the club reclaiming our position in Australian football as we head into a new era in our history,” Mielekamp said.
Montgomery has also agreed to a guest playing stint with PS4 NPL NSW Club, Wollongong Wolves FC where he will take on a mentoring role with Jacob Timpano’s young side for their 13 remaining league games of the season.
Nick Montgomery thanked Mariners’ fans for their ongoing support, spoke about his decision to retire from professional football and fondly reflected on his five seasons with the Mariners.
“It’s not been the easiest decision in the world but I think it’s the right decision and right time at this stage in my career,” Montgomery said. “I had a few conversations with Paul Okon, the coaching staff, the CEO & the owner about this new role, which most clubs in the A-League have. Most of the clubs in the A-League have someone heading up football, working between the first team and the CEO to really push this club forward to ensure we compete with all the other clubs in the league. Despite not having the spending power of the other clubs, I’m confident that we can attract the right players so that we can be challenging for the top six every season.
“To come out here, win the grand final and play in the Asian Champions League straight away was fantastic. The fans have been brilliant, this is a fantastic place to play football, it’s been a tough couple of seasons but moving forward the club is in a great position. This season we set a platform with a new playing style and I think everyone can see that the club is on the way up – hopefully we can bring some new signings in and turn this club back into a team challenging for that top six every year.
“I look back on my career with fond memories having played at the highest level but for me it’s good that I can carry on playing semi-pro for a while – this is a decision where I’ve put the family first, a decision that is perfect for our long term future here on the Central Coast, with the Mariners.
“I want to thank everyone for how amazing they’ve all been since I arrived. From the moment I arrived the supporters and local community have always been kind to me. I’ve made some amazing friends and some are like family now. My daughters have grown up here, they started school on the Coast this year and it’s a special place so I love that we’ve made the decision to settle here and not to move on.
“I’ve been loyal since the day I started out my career. I spent 14 years at one club in England and five with one club here. I’ve never been one to jump ship, I always like a challenge, I’ve had great success and tough times both here and in England but I’m a loyal person who always wants to see a challenge through. I’m committed to making the club a better place and help the young pros.
“There’s not much loyalty in football now but I’m proud to say that I only played for two clubs in my professional career,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery also spoke about how the opportunity presented itself to play semi-professional with some former Mariners at the Wollongong Wolves.
“After the season finished here and I was making my mind up, assessing options in Asia as well as the U.K. I got a text from my old teammate Justin Pasfield asking if I would be interested in a short stint in Wollongong,” Montgomery said. “When I was in the A-League All Stars we trained, and played there and I thought what a fantastic stadium, good football club so for me when I got the text I thought let’s explore it.
“Within a day, I’d spoken to the manager in Jacob Timpano and the CEO who were passionate about getting me down there to help mentor the young squad they’ve got because for me it’s a perfect fit so I’m delighted to be joining them,” Montgomery said.