Central Coast Mariners have committed their future to Gosford by agreeing to play the majority of their home games in the area for the next three Hyundai A-League seasons.
The Mariners announced on Wednesday they had reached an agreement with Gosford City Council to play a minimum of around 12 games at Central Coast Stadium until the end of the 2017/18 season.
The deal was struck between Mariners’ executive vice-chairman Peter Storrie and Gosford City Council’s CEO Paul Anderson and should end any speculation the club could relocate to North Sydney.
There has been speculation for the last couple of years owner Mike Charlesworth may be looking at options in Sydney’s northern suburbs, with the club taking a few home matches to North Sydney Oval for the last couple of seasons.
“I would just like to say a big thank you to Gosford City Council, especially CEO Paul Anderson and Mayor Lawrie McKinna for their assistance and professionalism shown over the past few months to allow such a positive deal across the line for both the Central Coast Mariners and Gosford City Council,” Storrie said in a club statement.
“It goes without saying that a strong relationship with Gosford City Council is of high importance when it comes to ensuring the financial sustainability of the Central Coast Mariners and this announcement is a huge step in the right direction.
“Immediately we are faced with a 13 home game season at Central Coast Stadium but this stadium agreement sets up an exciting prospect for our fans and members for the next three seasons at least.”
Gosford City Council’s CEO Paul Anderson says the arrangement is a win for the Central Coast community but challenged the locals to get out to matches in force.
“This agreement is a demonstration of Council’s commitment to make sure the Central Coast Mariners are playing as much as possible at the Central Coast’s number one sporting venue,” Anderson said.
“Thousands of Central Coast residents participate in local football, so I’m looking forward to seeing big crowds at Central Coast Stadium over the next three A-League seasons for these home games.”
The Mariners have 14 home matches for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season, with 13 to be played in Gosford including two each against local rivals Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC.
The club is taking one ‘home’ match on the road against Melbourne Victory in January, to be played at Simonds Stadium in Geelong.