Alen Stajcic to leave Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast head coach Alen Stajcic has parted ways with the Mariners after guiding the A-League underdogs from the foot of the table to a stunning third-place finish in the 2020-21 season.

The former Matildas boss joined the club in 2019 as the sixth new manager in as many years after the sacking of Mike Mulvey, and while a third consecutive wooden spoon was inevitable when Stajcic arrived late in the season, Stajcic immediately set about transforming the club on a shoestring budget.

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Giving chances to youngsters such as Josh Nisbet and Alou Kuol, while capitalising on the leadership of Oli Bozanic and Matt Simon, Stajcic worked wonders and brought that winning feeling back to a Gosford faithful deprived of any cause for celebration in seven long years.

This latest revelation is a harsh blow for the cash-strapped Mariners who may now become victims of their own success.

With speculation rife that Jack Clisby is set to be unveiled imminently as Perth Glory's latest signing, Tuesday's confirmation that defender Kye Rowles has committed to a further two years on the Central Coast is welcome respite for the club as it races to lock in the rest of the squad, including Rowles' partner in defence newly capped Socceroo Ruon Tongyik.

The move of young gun Kuol to Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart was confirmed in April and will net the club a healthy transfer fee, but a significant cash injection is of paramount importance to prevent the playing roster being further pillaged.

Rumours persist that an overseas investor is interested in taking over the Mariners licence, and an owner serious about investment in the culture built on the Central Coast would seem to be just reward for a club that defied the odds to become the A-League's good news story of season 16.