31st January, 2014: The Central Coast Mariners announce that championship winning players Trent Sainsbury and Daniel McBreen will depart the club for PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands and Shaghai SIPG in China respectively.
This brought to a close a tumultuous 6 months for the Mariners wherein during the period post Grand Final, the side lost Mat Ryan, Pedj Bojic, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Oliver Bozanic, and Michael McGlinchey from the playing roster, as well as Head Coach Graham Arnold and Strength and Conditioning coach Andrew Clark.
Heavyweight clubs such as Manchester City and Real Madrid would struggle to compete with such destruction to their squads, let alone a small club from the Central Coast widely considered the poorest club in the Asian region. If managers like Manuel Pellegrini and Carlo Ancellotti could not cope, then how many Weetbix does Phil Moss eat in the morning to be able to do what he does everyday - make the Mariners side competitive.
Time and time again the Mariners pay the price for their success and lose top shelf players in the off season, and yet Moss' men continue to set new standards of excellence by maintaining consistency in the face of adversity. There is no course that teaches such things, and as far as I know there is yet to be a coach that has done what the Central Coast gaffer has done, and so I have drawn the perfectly reasonable conclusion that Phil Moss is a magician.
Despite a hiccup through February where the Yellow and Navy went winless all month, the Central Coast have once again proven that reliance on youth and development rather than money and pedigree will take you far in the A-League.
Moss said in Saturday nights presser that each player on his roster was worthy of a starting spot at this stage, and that provides the only happy conundrum for a coach. If what Phil says is true, then the Mariners will be the dark horse of the finals series, and what he has done at the club is to be highly comended. A top two finish for the Gosford side could well put some doubt in the selectors mind for the Coach of the Year Award. Mike Mulvey should be shaking in his boots.
In Mossy We Trust.
HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you rate Phil Moss performance taking the reigns at the Mariners and where do you attribute their position in the A-League too?