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

The Central Coast Mariners sent a shockwave through the Hyundai A-League on Tuesday when they announced the sudden departure of head coach Paul Okon.

The former Caltex Socceroo was in the final year of a two-year contract with the Mariners but decided to resign after weeks of discussions around the club’s future plans.

So how will Okon’s tenure be judged after just under two seasons at the helm?

On face value, his record in charge doesn’t make for pleasant viewing.

Season

G

W

D

L

W %

GF

GA

2016-17

27

6

5

16

22%

31

52

2017-18

23

4

8

11

17%

25

37

Total:

50

10

13

27

20%

56

89

               

The 45-year-old oversaw a total of 50 matches in Gosford and notched just 10 wins in that time, losing 27 matches along the way.

The Mariners conceded 89 goals in those games and kept just nine clean sheets during his time in charge.

And in more than a quarter of matches (26%) that Okon oversaw, Central Coast conceded 3 or more goals.

Okon
Paul Okon

In his first season as coach in 2016/17, Okon’s side finished a disappointing eighth and only narrowly avoided the wooden spoon.

And despite a promising start this season, Central Coast sit ninth on the ladder and are again out of finals calculations.

Indeed, Okon departs having picked up just a solitary victory in his final 14 matches in charge - a 1-0 win over Wellington in Round 21.

While his overall record isn’t flattering, Okon drew plenty of praise for his side’s eye-catching style and positive approach to the game.

That was epitomized when the Mariners upset reigning Champions Sydney FC in Round 6, with goals to Andrew Hoole and Jake McGing stunning Graham Arnold’s side.

It was just Sydney’s second loss in two seasons and highlighted the huge potential of Okon’s youthful outfit.

Paul Okon
Paul Okon celebrates following Central Coast's win over Sydney FC in Round 6.

And after back-to-back wins over Wellington Phoenix (4-1) and Perth Glory (1-0) a fortnight later, Central Coast jumped up to fourth and well in the mix for the finals.

While injuries and player departures have curtailed the Mariners’ progress since, Okon has continued to back his side’s younger brigade.

Danny De Silva (21) has been arguably the side’s best player this season while youngster Lachie Wales (20) made an impressive introduction to the A-League midway through the campaign.

Inexperienced trio Kye Rowles (19), Liam Rose (20) and Trent Buhagiar (20) have all been given significant game-time throughout the course of the season as well.

And while they won’t be playing finals this season, the Mariners youngsters will certainly be thankful for Okon’s willingness to give them an opportunity.  

Lachlan Wales (Mariners)
Lachie Wales has impressed this season for the Mariners.