With Ricki Herbert leaving Wellington Phoenix late last season, Graham Arnold became the longest serving manager in the A-League. The Central Coast Mariners boss will retain that title for at least three more years, having signed a contract extension that will keep him in Gosford through the 2015/16 season, according to a club press release.
Arnold, who took over at Bluetongue in 2010, has a sparkling record with the Mariners, winning the 2011/12 premiership and reaching two Grand Finals, including of course, winning the 2012/13 championship back in April. Though he has flirted with other job openings, most notably in a highly publicized ordeal with Sheffield United and at Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F, Arnold's decision to remain in the A-League is of great value to the league and the game in Australia.
The always interesting manager explained his decision, as well as his potential future exit:
"I love this club and love living on the Coast. However, at some point I do want to test myself abroad and implement what I have learnt throughout my coaching career at the highest level possible. But right now there is no other club that offers me the chance to work in such a positive environment with a great group of players and staff.
"When I first came to the club we had 17 different training pitches in a season. Now we have our own training complex that is second to none in the competition. I truly believe there are exciting times ahead at the Mariners. I recently bought property on the Coast, so that should highlight how committed I am to continuing my work and being successful with the club."
The departure of several key players from the past two campaigns could make 2013/14 a more difficult task, though Arnold's addition of Marcos Flores and retention of up-and-comers Trent Sainsbury and Mitchell Duke should be more than enough to work with.