McKinna: Moss tops for Mariners' mantle

PHIL Moss is the right man to replace Graham Arnold at the Mariners and deserves his A-League opportunity, according to the club’s foundation coach Lawrie McKinna.

Moss has been an assistant coach at the Mariners since 2010 but his association with football on the Central Coast goes all the way back to 1997, where he spent a season with the Coasties as a player.

McKinna has known him for many years and says Moss first caught the eye as head coach and director of coaching at Manly.

“He was very successful with Manly,” McKinna said.

“Manly were not one of the State League clubs with a lot of money. He was the director of coaching and he basically ran the first-team and all the youth structures, all the way down. Manly were seen as one of the best-structured clubs.”

Moss was signed by then Northern Spirit coach Graham Arnold as a player and later served as assistant coach to the former Socceroo for the Olyroos’ Beijing Olympic campaign. 

“The relationship under Arnie has been going for a few years,” McKinna said.

“I know Arnie was looking at going overseas in July, the English option or the Chinese option, it was documented that Mossy was going to be given his chance.

“Mossy’s served his time. In my opinion it’s not a matter of how good a player you are, it’s totally different being a player and going straight into being a coach.

“Mossy’s served his apprenticeship. He’s worked with Arnie closely for three years and he’s been successful.

“Obviously Mossy will put his own slant on things but he’ll have learned a lot off Arnie, who learned a lot off Guus Hiddink and people like that. Mossy’s got all the ingredients to know what it takes. He knows the boys inside out.

“I’m sure that a lot of the tricks Mossy will have will be similar to Arnie, but I’m sure he’ll put his own spin on it because everyone’s different.”

Moss has become just the Mariner’s third coach since the A-League started in 2005. No other foundation club in the competition has had as few coaches in that period as the Central Coast.

McKinna believes the stability at the Mariners should help Moss succeed.

“John McKay the original CEO was there for eight years,” he said. “I was there for five years as coach then three years as general manager, and I’m still involved with the club.

“It’s not always bells and whistles, you go through the tough times. (But) I think it’s a proven model that if you’ve got the ingredients right you give it time.

“You need to back people who you trust and I think the Mariners have done a great job in that. They’ve not made knee-jerk reactions and sacked the coach.”