New majority owner of the Central Coast Mariners Mike Charlesworth has thrown down the gauntlet to Gosford City Council, asking them to deliver the A-League club the management rights to Bluetongue Stadium.
Along with Football Federation Australian chief executive David Gallop, A-League boss Damien de Bohun and club general manager Peter Turnbull, Charlesworth fronted a crowd of 120 Mariners fans at the Mingara Recreational Club at a club fan forum.
After the forum, the Englishman identified the project as a key priority for the reigning A-League title-holders.
"I think it was one of the priorities from the beginning, but what I didn't know at the beginning was the intention for the existing company, John Singleton's company, to relinquish their interest which they have done," he told Goal Australia.
"I wasn't aware until a couple of months ago there would be a new manager of the stadium.
"I am now."
Charlesworth emphasised: "It's something that we really want and we really need."
The Leeds United supporter outlined the financial case for the strategy, which could see the club takeover the stadium management when the current deal expires on December 31.
"For that to be our home, which we want it to be, then we have to have some element of control in been able to do the things we want to do with the stadium to make it a far more engaging place, to the financial benefits of being able to sell our food and sell our beer," he said.
"The stadium is so important for us - I can’t say more than that really."
Chester-born Charlesworth said the agreement was key to the club's long-term sustainability: "At the end of the day it’s not our decision it's the council... council own it," he said.
"If they want a make a statement that they want the Mariners to be here long-term then I think this would be a pretty good statement."
Charlesworth, who increased his stake in the cub to 64 percent in March, was clear when asked if he thought there was another viable option to run the stadium aside from the Mariners.
"At this point in time, it's unlikely," he said.
"I believe it [the stadium] loses money and I don't believe we would be making any long-term commitment to playing in that stadium unless we did have the management rights."
In other news, the return of a Mariners W-League side is at least 18 months away, with a review of the current competition to be completed leading into the new season and any expressions of interest for new sides to occur prior to the 2014-2015 season.