CENTRAL Coast Mariners insist they are still fighting to keep coach Graham Arnold despite Sydney FC tempting the former Socceroos coach away with a lucrative offer.
The club today emailed supporters to dismiss media speculation over the weekend that Sydney had successfully signed the Premiership-winning coach.
But they admitted Sydney had offered a huge wad of cash to lure him south to the Harbour City.
The cash-strapped Mariners - still on the hunt for new investors after a season dogged by cashflow worries - can't match Sydney's deal, but say they have offered Arnie "very attractive" pay rise.
According to players, Arnie will make his mind up on Wednesday, after tomorrow night's final home Asian Champions League game against Tianjin Teda at Bluetongue Stadium.
"There has been a substantial amount of media speculation recently suggesting that Graham Arnold has already signed with Sydney FC," chairman Peter Turnbull told fans this evening.
"In fact, what is true is that Sydney have tabled a very substantial offer for ‘Arnie’, which he is considering.
"However, we have recently lodged what we consider to be a very attractive counter-offer and have been speaking with Graham at every available opportunity.
"Our offer for Graham Arnold to remain as Head Coach of our club is for an increased amount, and for an additional season. Ultimately, it will be Arnie’s decision, and whatever decision he makes we will support him, as we do with all our coaches and players. That is the nature of our club."
He added: "It would be great for Members and fans to turn up in force tomorrow night to show their support for Arnie and urge him to stay at the helm of our first team.
"Rest assured, the team, staff and shareholders of the Central Coast Mariners are positive about the future of your football club."