The Mariners’ ‘Mossiah’

It's hard not to like Phil Moss. A former journo at the legendary Manly Daily, this is a guy who's covered the big sports stories and now is one of the great stories of this Hyundai A-League season. Let me explain...

It's hard not to like Phil Moss. A former journo at the legendary Manly Daily, this is a guy who's covered the big sports stories and now is one of the great stories of this Hyundai A-League season. Let me explain...

Moss has spent most of the last decade learning the subtleties of coaching in the Sydney club scene out of the eye of the media.

I began watching him coaching for much of the last decade in the anonymity of the rough and tumble NSW Premier League (now NPL) with Manly United, where conditions across the league, the part-time nature of squads and the varying levels of refereeing were a challenge in itself. But he succeeded, winning the league with the Cromer Park outfit.

Even before that the London-born Moss began his journey in the dugout helping out with Northern Spirit-s youth team towards the end of the NSL era.

He had joined Spirit as a player in 1998, his signing a story in itself given he-d only played semi-pro football himself with Eastern Suburbs.

At North Sydney Oval he immersed himself in the professional ranks at Spirit alongside the likes of former EPL and Socceroo great Robbie Slater, with ex Socceroo great Graham Arnold as his coaching mentor.

But the step up was at times too much and “Mossy” moved on after two seasons to resume his part-time playing career and planning for a coaching gig. That was 14 years ago.

Moss would later work with Arnold as an assistant on the 2008 Olyroo campaign and it was Arnold who brought him into the Mariners as his right hand man in 2010 before the J-League bound coach passed on the baton to him in the early rounds of this season.

Now as senior coach of Central Coast Mariners he-s outfoxing the best and more cashed up clubs in Asia in the AFC Asian Champions League, while simultaneously closing in on second spot in the Hyundai A-League in his first season at a senior coach in Australia-s elite domestic competition.

Paying your dues. That-s what Phil Moss has done and that-s why he-s succeeded in the A-League at Central Coast this year. It-s explains why some other more high profile coaches have failed - you need a grounding in coaching.

For the 42-year-old, coaching was something he was drawn to from an early age, managing divisional teams in the north shore of Sydney in his mid-20s whilst still a player.

Moss may not win that coveted A-League All Stars coaching gig against Juventus in August, but he's proven that in Australia success will finally come if you put in the hard yards.

Though if fate had intervened we might not have even seen him blossom.

Moss is just the second Jewish A-League manager (the other being the irrepressible Miron Bleiberg). With this link, the Mariners boss was part of the Maccabiah Games team in 1997. However, when a footbridge leading into the Ramat Gan stadium collapsed some of the large Australian delegation fell into the Yarkon River. Four died and many others were injured. Moss was about to step on that bridge when it collapsed (his brother, first class cricketer Jon Moss wasn-t so lucky and fell in but thankfully survived). Unfazed, Moss returned to the event four years later.

It-s hard not to like the story of Moss, the English migrant who never scaled great heights as a player and toiled away in the lower levels of coaching, but is now looming as the next big thing in our coaching ranks.