|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
The Central Coast Mariners' players and staff will be paid "immediately" with the A-League club's financial future having been secured.
Existing stakeholder Mike Charlesworth has reached an agreement to buy out Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman, who had retained a stake in the Mariners since his time with the Gosford-based club in the early seasons of the A-League.
Central Coast have revealed Charlesworth will become the majority shareholder and that his "recapitalisation" of the club will ensure all personnel will be paid outstanding wages.
"Discussions involving Mike Charlesworth, Peter Turnbull and Lyall Gorman concluded late today with agreement in principal reached," a statement on the Mariners' website said on Thursday.
"Documentation of the agreement is underway.
"The agreement will see Mike Charlesworth, an existing major investor, make a substantial fresh investment into the Mariners.
"The injection of funds will allow the immediate payment of players, coaches and staff.
"In addition, the funds will allow the Mariners to implement business plans to continue the growth of the club."
Club staff are expected to actually receive the funds within 24 hours, while a Mariners source rubbished earlier media reports that there had been a bid from individuals involved in former National Soccer League club South Melbourne.
The club official claimed the story, which had included speculation that four Mariners games per season would be relocated to Melbourne, was "highly untrue".
While it has not been confirmed whether former majority owner Turnbull will be replaced as chairman by Charlesworth, he praised the latter's commitment to the club.
"Mike is a football man, like the rest of us, and he has a great passion for the game and the Mariners," Turnbull said.
"Today's agreement means the Mariners legacy will only get stronger."
Turnbull claimed the agreement will help Central Coast become 'strong and stable', while also paying tribute to Gorman's involvement with the Mariners.
Gorman was founding CEO and then the inaugural executive chairman of Central Coast.
"Mike, Lyall and I have always placed top priority on the good of the Mariners and Central Coast football," Turnbull said.
"The club is an integral part of the Central Coast region and we are determined to build a strong and stable club.
"In particular, I pay tribute to Lyall for his achievements in establishing the club. This agreement will see Lyall sever his formal ties with the Mariners, but he'll always have a special place in the club."