Central Coast captain Nick Montgomery has thrown his support behind the embattled A-League club's owner and chairman Mike Charlesworth, branding criticism of his approach this season as harsh.
Charlesworth, coach Tony Walmsley and the cash-strapped Mariners at large have come under fire over numerous issues including their unfruitful attack-at-all-costs philosophy, the controversy surrounding goalkeeper Liam Reddy's dismissal and the requesting of players' phone records over an alleged tactical leak.
But Montgomery, who has been at the last-placed Mariners long enough to remember far more successful days, jumped to Charlesworth's defence.
"I think it's harsh," he said.
"Obviously fans want the team to be winning games, but look at Newcastle last season, and the FFA own them now ... Brisbane have had problems, we've had problems in the past.
"Mike's come in (in 2013) when we were virtually going out of business, probably about to be handed over to the FFA.
"Now he's building a complex at the training ground, he's cutting the debts.
"With that, we've had to cut the wage bill and bring in a load of young kids, try and build them up for the future and again make this club sustainable.
"So it's pretty harsh. Mike's a good guy, he's working hard on and off the field with (vice-chairman) Peter Storrie to try and achieve what we want.
"It's going to take time."
Central Coast's money issues are no secret.
Reportedly spending the minimum 90 per cent of the salary cap, they are struggling to make ends meet - and to pay off superannuation owed to some players by the December 31 deadline stipulated by the new collective bargaining agreement ratified by the players' union and Football Federation Australia earlier this year.
Though the club insist they're on track to get it done, Walmsley has admitted there's little room for movement when it comes to signing reinforcements in the January transfer window.
However Montgomery believed the club was on the right course.
He admitted 2015 had "not been great" results-wise - they have five wins in this calendar year - but put some this season down to "horrendous decisions" against them.
Central Coast will attempt to turn around their 11-match winless run when they host Wellington in Gosford on Thursday night.
"We've played some great football this season," Montgomery said.
"We haven't got the results we wanted but now it's time, with 15 games to go, to try and get up that table, we need to start picking up points."