Sydney boy Arnold lands his 'dream job'
The A-League title-winning coach has been signed for a reported $1.8 million and charged with the responsibility of returning the one-time glamour club to the top of the league.
For the first time in his A-League career the 50-year-old also has access to some deep pockets to secure high profile marquee signings after years working with limited resources at the Central Coast Mariners.
Arnold was unveiled on Thursday as the club's eighth coach in nine seasons after Frank Farina was sacked a fortnight ago for failing to take Sydney past the first round of the finals playoffs.
Speaking of his appointment Arnold said: "I am a Sydney boy, I've grown up in Sydney, I've played all my junior football in the Sutherland Shire, I represented the State of NSW.
"I love that football stadium just outside - Allianz - it's given me a lot of great memories over the years. Either playing with the national team or working with the national team.
"One of the dreams I always had from day one when the A-League started was to coach Sydney FC.
"When that coaching was going to occur I couldn't answer that but I truly believe that the new direction that the club has spoken about, and the appointment of Han Berger on the board, has really shown me the time is right and I'm really excited about the future of Sydney FC.
"I'm looking forward to working with some real quality players - obviously young boys Terry Antonis, Rhyan Grant and Hagi Gligor that represented Australia at junior level. And also working with some very experienced seasoned pros in Sasa Ognenovski, Alis Abbas and those type of players.
"On top of that the privilege for the first time in my coaching career in the A-League to get two marquee players into the club.
"It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with the players and coaching Sydney FC to consistent domestic success and Asian Champions League qualification.”
Syndey first courted Arnold's signature two years ago but he decided to stay with the Mariners. His brief stint with J-League side Vegalta Sendai put him back on the A-League radar. Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory were among those said to be interested in his services along with the New Zealand national team, the All Whites.
Sydney Chairman Scott Barlow said Arnold had hit the ground running.
“Graham is one of the A-League’s most successful coaches and has a proven track record of producing high quality, winning football teams," Barlow said.
"Over the last two weeks it has become very clear to the Sydney FC board that Graham is the standout candidate for our club.
"We wanted someone with the right character and the right experience with a proven track record of success. We wanted someone who could identify and develop the best young Australian talent.
“He brings to the head coach's role a wealth of international and Asian Champions League experience and as a former Socceroos coach, has dealt with the demands of coaching a high profile team.”
Arnold has lifted silverware in each of his last two full seasons as a coach in the A-League, securing the 2011-12 Premiership and the Championship a year later with the Mariners. He was also named as the A-League Manager of the Year in 2011-12.
According to Barlow, Sydney received a huge number of applications for the coaching post and underwent a detailed selection process to find the best candidate for the job.
“We conducted an extensive search both domestically and internationally and interviewed a short list of very high calibre candidates,” he said.
“In the end, Graham matched all the criteria and qualities we were looking for and I’m delighted to be able to announce him as our new head coach.
“Having been born and bred in Sydney, Graham also matches our drive and ambition to ensure Sydney FC is seen as Australia’s premier football club at home and abroad.”
Arnold takes the role with immediate effect, with the playing staff due to return to training in June.
Defender Ognenovski, who has committed to Sydney for another season, welcomed the appointment.
Ognenovski told Fox Sports: "It's good that they've acted so swiftly...at least they've got a plan in place and they're going to give him time to build the team that he wants to build."