Mariners eyeing 'experienced' manager: Mielekamp

Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp says the club will look to appoint an ‘experienced’ coach but insists they will take their time in seeking a replacement for the departed Paul Okon.

The Mariners dropped a bombshell on Tuesday with news that Okon had stepped down as the club’s head coach, effective immediately.

Central Coast confirmed that after weeks of discussions regarding the club’s future direction, the two parties agreed it would be best to sever ties straight away.

Snapshot: Okon’s up-and-down tenure as Mariners boss

Mielekamp addressed the media on Wednesday and praised Okon’s positive influence on the club despite the former Socceroo’s departure.

“We [Paul Okon and the club] have been in conversation for some time about what the future looks like, and it became clear that it was untenable for a future with Paolo, so it was decided yesterday that we would mutually part ways,” Mielekamp told reporters.

“[Paul Okon] took us a long way forward. He is a brilliant coach, and he has done some brilliant things for this club that will stay with the club for a long time. We can only thank him deeply for what he has brought to this club, what we have learnt from him. It was just a matter of we were moving in different directions.”

Mielekamp added that the appointment of the next coach was one of the most important in the Mariners’ history, reiterating that the club will remain patient in deciding on a new boss.

“We are looking for someone to take us forward, to understand everything that we’ve done, the journey that we’ve been through, what we do, what our philosophy is as a club, and how to evolve it, how to take it forward,” Mielekamp said.

“We need someone with a lot of experience and credibility, and ability to take us forward. We’ll go through that process, there’s a long list. It’s a really important decision, we can’t get it wrong.”

The Mariners’ CEO also urged the club’s fans to get behind the team, starting with Saturday’s home clash with Sydney FC.

“The key message is that we need you more than ever [supporters]. We are the community club, and so we need the community behind us through this time,” Mielekamp said.

“I’m not going to deny that this is a tough time for the club, but it’s also an opportunity for us to be strong and show that we’re together.

“There are plenty of boys who are going to put their heart and soul out onto the pitch, and I’d like to see everyone get behind them.”