Central Coast Mariners coach: Five potential manager candidates

Who'll take the reins in Gosford now that Paul Okon's parted ways with the Mariners?

In the wake of Paul Okon's shock departure from the Central Coast, the Mariners are in desperate need of a coach that can turn the club around.

After securing their first championship under Graham Arnold in 2013, Central Coast haven't made finals in what will now be four straight seasons.

Despite these struggles, there will be plenty of interest in taking charge of the club and we take a look at the strongest candidates.

Scroll down to see the options... 


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    Arthur Papas

    At 38, Papas has national and international experience.

    He guided Green Gully to a famous FFA Cup win over the Mariners. He also piloted Oakleigh to the FFA Cup quarter finals.

    And he has experience in the A-League as an assistant coach with Jets and Heart.

    International experience is also on his CV. A year ago he worked in Saudi Arabia with Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie and together they guided Al-Ettifaq to safety in Saudi Arabia.

    And he spent three years in India working in the IPL and with the Indian U23s. While in India he was assistant to Brazilian great Zico.

    He's also worked under Dutch coach Jan Versleijen at the AIS with the national youth team structure.

    He's young, ambitious and a great man manager according to those he's worked with. Papas would be a smart choice.

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    Mark Rudan

    The former Sky Blues and Adelaide United defender has chalked up plenty of experience as a club coach through stints with Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United 58 since retiring as a player in 2010.

    Joining his junior club side Sydney United in 2013, Rudan hit the ground running winning the NSW Premier League premiership and coach of the year in his inaugural season.

    After four years with United 58, which saw him win two state premierships and two Australian championships, the now 42-year-old became an assistant with the national U20’s side in 2016.

    Back again with Sydney United 58, Rudan has started the current season with one win and three losses with an A-League stint surely in his sights. 

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    Mike Mulvey

    The former Brisbane Roar coach won an A-League premiership and championship with the club in 2014 before being dismissed seven games into the following season after reportedly losing the support of the players.

    Since his sacking, Mulvey hasn’t worked in Australia, with stints as a technical director and coach in Malaysia and Thailand.

    His A-League coaching experience is a major plus and would also be likely to fit well within the Mariners’ budget for a new manager.

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    ​Michael Valkanis

    According to The Covert Agent, Valkanis sought out a meeting with Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth three days before Okon left the club.

    It hasn’t been confirmed whether the two parties met or not, but regardless, the former Melbourne City coach is a contender to for the Mariners gig.

    Valkanis is a highly-rated assistant coach and although he struggled at City, could be ready for a fresh opportunity with a new A-League club.

    A plus for the notoriously frugal Mariners is Valkanis wouldn’t command a huge salary either.

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    Aurelio Vidmar

    While his time in charge of Adelaide United between 2007 and 2010 may have been controversial, the long-time Australian assistant is not short of experience.

    The Mariners have stressed the importance of exactly that and Vidmar’s time in the A-League along with his role as a Socceroos assistant coach makes him a strong candidate.

    Having also led the Australian U23’s between 2010 and 2016, he certainly has a good knowledge of national talent and could prove invaluable to a club short on money. 

    A recent one-year stint in Thailand with Bangkok Glass shows Vidmar still knows how to operate at club level and currently without a side, the Mariners should certainly give Vidmar some thought.