Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth, a property developer, has instructed the club to formally present a management rights proposal to the stadium’s current owners and operators, Central Coast Council, citing concerns the current business model does not facilitate best practice contributing to the lack of growth and improvement of the stadium.  

The facility was opened in 2000 and has remained relatively untouched which the Mariners say has resulted in the venue becoming dated and in need of immediate attention.

The Mariners’ five stage concept seeks to make the stadium a weather friendly, football friendly and digitally connected stadium boasting dual big screens, weather/sun protection over the northern grandstand, yellow seats, additional change rooms, Wi-Fi compatibility, state of the art sound system as well as an upgrade of the corporate facilities (including a 100-seat function room) and a retail and café precinct.

Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp is inviting community leaders to the Mariners’ January 28 clash against Perth Glory to present their ideas for Gosford.

Mielekamp said the stadium must improve as the club continues to grow.

“A necessity for our region is the improvement of Central Coast Stadium that is the only flag bearer for major infrastructure development in Gosford’s CBD over the past 17 years,” he said.

“Whilst there are certainly some hurdles ahead, we are confident there are also solutions. We cannot do this alone and need the stadium and infrastructure to grow if we have any chance of fulfilling our potential.

“New revenue opportunities presented by the stadium will empower us to invest long term towards our football resources. Our football will reap the rewards of the club’s growth and it is important to understand that this is a long term play for us to compete with the big four clubs who are growing bigger and faster every day. 

“Unfortunately, in the last 17 years, the only thing that has changed at the stadium is the height of the palm trees. Whilst it is the small day-to-day things that hinder events at the stadium such as a poor sound system, long bar and canteen lines, accessibility and weather protection – these frustrations, if unaddressed, are merely the tip of the ice-burg.

“The worst thing that can happen is nothing. Our main priority is to drive change and growth. If the Mariners aren’t going to do it, then who is?

“The stadium is now and will always be our home. Like any home, the stadium can get tired and need some love and energy injected to keep it thriving."

Should the plan be approved, it would make the Mariners the only A-League club to own the management rights to their playing venue. 

The club said in a statement:

“To encourage investment into the Central Coast Region, the club’s concepts for Central Coast Stadium fall within a broader campaign that promotes #GrowthForGosford encouraging all community leaders, politicians, developers and anyone that has a vested interest in the growth of Gosford to stand up and present their vision for a better Gosford.”