Central Coast Mariners can tonight confirm 2013 Hyundai A-League Championship winning coach Graham Arnold has joined J-League club Vegalta Sendai on a two-season contract.
Arnold jetted to Japan today and upon arrival in the land of the rising sun finalised his deal with the men from Sendai’s Yurtec Stadium.
Arnold will commence his time with Vegalta in January, and will replace outgoing manager Makoto Teguramori who is transitioning to the position of Head Coach of Japan’s U23 National Team.
Arnold said that the chance to coach in one of Asia’s top leagues, and at a Club with grand ambitions, was an opportunity too good to turn down.
“Together at the Mariners we have achieved a lot over the past three seasons,” Arnold said. “But just like players I have the determination and drive to coach at the highest level I possibly can.”
“Naturally, this opportunity with Vegalta Sendai excites me. The J-League is an amazing competition with quality players, highly professional clubs, and passionate fans. I hope to help Sendai achieve success, and help pave the way for more Australian coaches to work in top leagues around the world.”
While enthused about his new role, Arnold admitted departing the Mariners comes with an element of sadness.
“I have stated many times in the past how much I love the Mariners and love living on the Central Coast,” he said. “There is an amazing culture at the club, and I know that the players, staff and management will continue working hard as they aim to achieve the goals that have been set not only for this year, but for the years to come.”
Arnold also gave his backing to the club’s new Head Coach, Phil Moss. Moss has been Arnold’s assistant at the Mariners since 2010.
“Phil [Moss] deserves his opportunity to be a Head Coach in the A-League,” Arnold said. “He is a dedicated professional who understands the culture of the club, has the trust of the players, and has the desire to make the very most of this opportunity. I ask the fans to give Phil and the club their full support.”
Throughout the ‘Arnold era’ Central Coast Mariners won one Hyundai A-League Championship, one Hyundai A-League Premiership, made the last 16 of the 2013 AFC Champions League, and qualified for three consecutive AFC Champions Leagues.
Arnold also helped the club develop a host of Australia’s brightest footballers – some who remain at the Mariners, and some who are now playing in top European and Asian leagues and representing the Socceroos.
Central Coast Mariners Group General Manager, Mr Peter Turnbull, thanked Arnold for his services on behalf of the Club’s staff and supporters.
“We would like to officially recognise Graham for his exemplary work and professionalism during his time with us,” Turnbull said. “He was instrumental in delivering us our second Hyundai A-League Premiership, and of course our maiden Hyundai A-League Championship.”
“He has left a lasting legacy at the Mariners and will go down in Club history for all the right reasons.”
Central Coast Mariners are planning to honour Arnold for his contribution to the Club at a forthcoming Hyundai A-League fixture at Gosford’s Bluetongue Stadium. More details will be announced over coming weeks.
Graham Arnold will be available to fulfil Australian media commitments when he returns to the country next week.