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Owner puts A-League’s Mariners up for sale

Central Coast chief executive Shaun Mielekamp says relocation isn’t off the table as the A-League wooden spooners hit the market.

On Tuesday morning, Central Coast owner Mike Charlesworth announced he would seek to sell his majority stake in the A-League club.

Mielekamp said for those on the Central Coast, keeping an A-League presence at Gosford was “paramount,” but conceded Charlesworth could consider offers from other regions.

“If there is a massive offer and a massive opportunity from another region that’s here, I know it’ll be looked at,” Mielekamp told reporters on Tuesday.

“Previously they’ve been knocked back but they’re going to be looked at.

“So our task right now is to make sure that the best opportunity is right here on the Coast.”

Mielekamp rejected reports Charlesworth had put a $4m price tag on the club and was confident he would secure a sale, rather than having to consider handing back the licence.

“I suppose that (handing back the licence) is an option, it’s always been an option available to Mike – but he’s never triggered that,” Mielekamp said.

“The fact that we do have a lot of confidence that there will be offers and there are people we’ve been speaking to for a period of time now, we think that’ll grow and take that out of control.”

Charlesworth first bought in to the Gosford-based club in 2013, going on to win the club’s first A-League title under Graham Arnold a month later.

The latter years of his time in charge have been far less successful with the club picking up four wooden spoons in the past five seasons.

Mielekamp said there had already been strong interest in the club and new investment was vital in terms of player recruitment and retention – especially the Mariners’ talented youngsters.

He also flagged interest in having “one or two per cent” of the club owned by the community.

The Mariners completed their 2019-20 season with a dramatic 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory on Monday, with young gun Dylan Ruiz-Diaz scoring a brace.

“A lot more confidence and belief has come into the team and the club,” coach Alen Stajcic said post-match, before the Charlesworth news was announced.

“We don’t want to be on the bottom so we can’t sugar-coat after tonight’s victory to say all is well and rosy because it is not.

“But some of the positives for me … we have laid an excellent platform of youth players that can represent the club over the coming years and they have all been signed to multi-year contracts.”

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