PHIL Moss has been officially unveiled as the man to take the Central Coast Mariners forward after Graham Arnold signed a two-year deal with J.League side Vegalta Sendai on Thursday.
Arnold’s assistant since mid-2010, Moss is now set to lead the reigning A-League champions until the end of the 2015/16 campaign. The former NSL player will take control of his first training session as head coach on Friday.
Meanwhile Arnold will start with Vegalta in January, replacing outgoing manager Makoto Teguramori who is transitioning to the position of Head Coach of Japan’s U23 National Team.
Arnold spoke for the first time about his decision to leave Bluetongue where he led the club to championship and premiership glory, saying Moss deserved his shot at the top job.
“Phil deserves his opportunity to be a head coach in the A-League,” he said.
“He is a dedicated professional who understands the culture of the club, has the trust of the players, and has the desire to make the very most of this opportunity. I ask the fans to give Phil and the club their full support.”
Arnold spoke warmly of his time with the Gosford outfit which consistently punched above its weight.
“Together at the Mariners we have achieved a lot over the past three seasons,” Arnold said. “But just like players I have the determination and drive to coach at the highest level I possibly can.
“Naturally, this opportunity with Vegalta Sendai excites me. The J-League is an amazing competition with quality players, highly professional clubs, and passionate fans.
"I hope to help Sendai achieve success, and help pave the way for more Australian coaches to work in top leagues around the world.”
Arnold, 50, said he left with some sadness.
“I have stated many times in the past how much I love the Mariners and love living on the Central Coast,” he said.
“There is an amazing culture at the club, and I know that the players, staff and management will continue working hard as they aim to achieve the goals that have been set not only for this year, but for the years to come.”
Moss, 42, began his coaching career with Manly United in the New South Wales Super League. It was during this period that he first linked with his former Northern Spirit teammate and close friend Arnold in a coaching capacity, working alongside Arnold with Australia’s U23 team prior to the Beijing Olympics.
When Arnold was signed to replace Lawrie McKinna as Mariners coach in season six, he recruited Moss as his assistant and together - alongside John Crawley and Andrew Clark – they made a formidable coaching combination.
Moss was quick to add his tribute to the departing coach: “What Graham has done for this club, the Coast, the playing and coaching staff has been quite remarkable.
“For me he is a mentor, a father figure, and a man who has left a legacy for football on the Central Coast.
“With Arnie [Arnold] leaving the Hyundai A-League it will now become evident as to what a great coaching brain the competition has lost. But Arnie would be the first to tell me that the show must go on, and it will.
“I am honoured to be just the third coach in Mariners history. To have the confidence and backing of our Chairman, Mr Turnbull, and owner, Mr Charlesworth, to take up the role immediately gives me great belief that I am the right man for the job.”
He added: “My main motivation in wanting to take this opportunity is the playing group. The culture we have in the dressing room is second to none, and I feel that together we can take it to another level.
“Arnie is big on turning up to work every day with a smile on his face, and with the playing group and staff we have that is a very easy thing to do. I have every confidence in the group and know that the motivation and hunger to succeed inside the dressing room is as strong as ever.”
Central Coast Mariners Group General Manager, Mr Peter Turnbull, said their was a strong expectation the Mariners would continue to succeed on the field, and develop rising young players.
“This is an exciting time for the club,” Turnbull said. “We have had the successful ‘McKinna era’, an excellent ‘Arnold era’, and now Phil has his chance to establish the ‘Moss era’.
“Phil is particularly well versed and supportive of the Mariners' culture, and we know he has learnt a lot under Graham over the past few years. As such, we expect with Phil it will be business as usual, as he upholds the values and principles that we believe in, and the style and standards that we expect.”
On behalf of the staff and fans, Turnbull thanked Arnold for his outstanding contribution to the club.
“We would like to officially recognise Graham for his exemplary work and professionalism during his time with us,” Turnbull said.
“He was instrumental in delivering us our second Hyundai A-League Premiership, and of course our maiden Hyundai A-League Championship.”
“He has left a lasting legacy at the Mariners and will go down in club history for all the right reasons.”