Peter Turnbull is leaving Central Coast Mariners. Consider this fair warning of the breeze blowing in of the coming winds of change. After seven years as an investor, chairman, chief administrator and general manager, Turnbull exits the club in substantially better position than he found it in 2007.
Turnbull explained his happiness in the growth of the club in his parting words, according to a club press release:
"Our football club has shed the "little club" tag and is now one of the dominant football clubs in the country. On the 'all-time Hyundai A-League table,' the Mariners proudly sit first in front of Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory.
"I still expect to be at every game and will be cheering the lads on as they look to emulate the success we have regularly enjoyed. All of my family now either live or work on the Central Coast and I know how important this club is to the region. I'd like to urge everybody to get behind Mike [Charlesworth] and the club as they look to continue the Mariners legacy."
Charlesworth added his thanks in the press release:
"This was only ever a temporary solution as Peter has substantial business interests elsewhere. He now has opportunities in his normal business which require his full-time attention.
"Peter has been instrumental in bringing about the changes we needed and we ow a vote of thanks for his financial investment as well as his devotion to the club. Peter leaves a legacy as an original founder of the Hyundai A-League. He and the Lowy family owned 25 percent each of Sydney FC in the early years. However, he saw his preferred model of a community club being established on the Central Coast with the Mariners.
"Peter should always be remembered as the first outside investor in the Mariners and as a man willing to commit his personal dollars in the game for the benefit of football in Australia."
Tracy Southern will be acting general manager through the remainder of the 2013/14 season as the Mariners look to repeat as A-League champions. A new CEO will be appointed in December with January 2014 as a starting date for the new regime.
While not necessarily related, the announcement of Turnbull's departure comes just days after a very public back-and-forth between the newspapers and club. Despite quotes from Charlesworth about the inviability of the Mariners in Gosford, the club explained, via press release, that overtures toward North Sydney (Oval) were simply to further grow the club's base of fans. Whether or not Turnbull's departure, as an investor with a focus on the Central Coast region, will have an impact on the club's future plans remains to be seen. But it surely is not insignificant as the Mariners edge toward a new era.