Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Graham Arnold, has today been named the 2011/12 Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Hyundai A-League Coach of the Season.
Presented with his award by PFA Executive member and Central Coast Mariners captain, Alex Wilkinson, at a media event at Soccer5s, Tuggerah, the astute Arnold was overwhelmingly selected as the A-League Coach of the Season by PFA members across all ten Hyundai A-League teams.
Arnold is the fourth coach to be honoured as coach of the season by the PFA. He follows Ange Postecoglou (Brisbane Roar – 2010/11), Viteslav Lavicka (Sydney FC – 2009/10), and Aurelio Vidmar (Adelaide United – 2008/09) as recipients of the award.
Central Coast Mariners, who were confirmed as Hyundai A-League Premiers following their away win at Wellington on Sunday, have maintained a high level of performance under Arnold’s guidance both domestically and also internationally this season.
Brendan Schwab, Chief Executive of the PFA, said from Melbourne: “The continued success of the Central Coast Mariners despite their heartbreaking loss in last year’s Championship decider shows how Graham and his playing squad have been able to overcome many of the obstacles put in their way.”
“It is even more to the credit of Graham that the side has continued its success despite coming from the A-League smallest market, and the need to transfer key players out of the club. Despite these issues, Graham has successfully developed a number of young players, many of whom should become the mainstay of future Socceroo teams.”
“I wish Graham and his club the best in both the forthcoming A-League finals and the Asian Champions League,” Schwab concluded.
After being presented with his award, a surprised, but elated Arnold said: “I’m humbled to win this award. Being recognised by the players as the top coach this season speaks volumes for what we are doing here.”
“(But) I can’t speak highly enough of the players. I think I’ve said many times before that I come to training with a smile on my face, and I turn up to work this these guys who are not only very good footballers, but are wonderful human beings.”
“I haven’t had one problem with one player since I’ve been here, it’s definitely a joy.”
Arnold also praised his staff, a group of men who have contributed greatly to the club’s success this term.
“Of course I’m very very proud of the players but also my staff,” he said.
“Phil Moss my assistant coach takes a lot of pressure off me and does a wonderful job. Andrew Clark for me is the best football fitness coach in Australia by far, and John Crawley is the best goalkeeper coach.”