Former Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold spoke for the first time this morning after his departure from the reigning A-League Champions.
Last week, Arnold informed the playing group and staff that he would be exploring an opportunity to coach overseas. Two days later Arnold was announced as J-League side Vegalta Sendai’s new head coach.
“I found out there was interest on the Sunday, signed a contract on the Monday and flew out Wednesday” Arnold said.
Arnold knew he had made the right choice as soon as he arrived at his new club.
“I went over there for five days, and I could feel the intensity coming back. I could feel the desire to be successful again and improve myself overseas.”
While Arnie was never shy in his desire to coach abroad, his decision to leave only five games into the Mariners new season took many by surprise.
“It’s very sad to leave the Mariners. I apologise to the supporters and everyone for the way I left”
“I will always cherish this club enormously; I will be back one day. I have the highest regard for this football club” Arnold added.
Since the inception of the A-League we have seen many Australian players head overseas to aid in their development and take a on a new challenge, something Arnold now knows will include Australian coaches.
“I’ve always been someone who needs a challenge; I was highly successful with the club, the players, and the staff. The timing for me is perfect.”
While the different language and culture are two things Arnold will have to adapt to in Japan, for him the personal challenge to better himself will allow him to overcome the inevitable change.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge. Going to a very strong league is going to test me”.
“It will be strange to not have to re-build a new side. I will have to tweak a little bit of the team, however it’s a very good, stable, football club.”
When asked what would be his first goal at Vegalta Sendai, Arnold placed importance on the Asian Champions League acknowledging how important the competition is in Japan.
“Hopefully I can make them a better team, it’s an exciting challenge.”
Arnold’s assistant for three years Phil Moss, was last week named as the Central Coast’s new coach. He was given a three year contract with the full backing of the club’s board and directors. Arnold too has complete confidence in his former right hand man.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Phil… he will do well, hopefully he has learnt a lot from me…. I’m sure the Mariners are in very safe hands”
Arnold now has seven weeks before he begins his new role. While studying vision of his new players and also learning some Japanese, he insists he will still do as much as possible off-field at the Central Coast.
“I’ll be helping Patrick Zwaanswijk with the youth league, and I’m also here for Phil if he needs me to bounce things off while he settles in to the job”
Graham Arnold at the Central Coast Mariners:
Games Managed: 98 – Won: 51, Lost: 22, Drawn: 25
CCM: 155 goals for, 95 goals against
2 Grand Finals