Arnold to replace McKinna

Lawrie McKinna's time in charge of the Central Coast Mariners will come to an end this week with Socceroos assistant Graham Arnold to take up the head coaching role at the club from next season.

Lawrie McKinna's time in charge of the Central Coast Mariners will come to an end this week with Socceroos assistant Graham Arnold to take up the head coaching role at the club from next season.

Rumours have been swirling for weeks that Arnold, who has been involved in the national set-up for close to a decade, was set to return to the A-League after the 2010 World Cup. Arnold has committed to a three-year deal from the time he is released from his FFA duties after the showpiece tournament in June.

McKinna, who has been in charge of the club since its inception in 2005, will move into the role of football operations manager, working with Arnold to get the Mariners back towards the top of the table after a disappointing campaign in 2009-10.

"This is a great opportunity for me," said McKinna.

"I have a commercial background from my time as a Sales Manager at Asics, and through the running of my own businesses, and the experience I have gained in being part of the formation of the Mariners alongside (Executive Chairman) Lyall (Gorman) means I know the club inside out," McKinna said.

"I know the people of the Central Coast very well, and I-m excited about the new opportunities that will present themselves within this role at the club, while still maintaining a strong presence in the football side of things."

The club said McKinna played a major role in convincing Arnold to come to the Mariners, who broke a 10-match losing streak when they defeated the Newcastle Jets 3-0 on Monday night.

That win couldn't rescue a season which will see them finish between seventh and ninth. It is just the second time the Mariners have missed the finals after making two Grand Finals in 2006 and 2008.

The affable Scotsman's last game as coach will be in Wellington on Friday.

Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman paid tribute to McKinna's contribution to the foundation of the club and believes he will prosper in his new role.

"Lawrie is an integral part of our Club-s fabric and all it stands for, and his new role is a key part of our business focus moving forward. By extending his contract and continuing to play an important part in the future of the Mariners the club will not only continue to benefit from the tremendous intellectual property and experience that Lawrie has built up over so many years, but also provide him with the opportunity to pursue new and exciting career pathways in a game to which he has contributed so much," Gorman said.

"With work on the Centre of Excellence at Tuggerah nearing commencement it is an exciting time to be a Mariners Member and Supporter, and we are delighted to know that Lawrie will continue to be a key part of our team moving forward."

McKinna's exit means that Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick remains the only foundation coach left in their original job in the A-League.