Mariners take Coast brand to the world

The last two months have seen the Central Coast Mariners move to centre stage on the Australian football scene and, internationally, set the scene to become a known brand on the world stage.

Two announcements in mid-December by the Mariners’ Executive Chairman, Lyall Gorman, will result in the Central Coast brand being promoted worldwide to a football audience estimated at more than 1.6 billion people.

Of significance for the region in promoting the Central Coast brand was the announcement that Scarborough Group International – owner of the Sheffield United Football Club – had taken an investment position in the Mariners FC Unit Trust.

Earlier, Mariners Trust Chairman and property developer Peter Turnbull had committed to invest a further $1 million in the Mariners through the unit trust to provide additional essential capital to continue their work in progressing the Mariners Youth Academy and the construction of a state-of-the-art training complex and administrative centre that will be the finest in Australia (see story: Mariners joint venture with Wyong RSL Club to build sporting complex).

Far reaching implications
The move by Scarborough Group International has far reaching implications for the future of the Mariners as well as the Central Coast. Scarborough is owned by Kevin McCabe who is also Chairman of Sheffield United and is highly respected in the world of property and football, with worldwide investment interests.

Along with his ownership of Sheffield United, Mr McCabe also owns controlling interests in Chinese Super League side, Chengdu Blades; the leading Hungarian club, Ferencvaros; and the United Arab Emirates based, Dubai Blades; who will compete in the new UAE Football League from 2009.

Sheffield United has an assured financial future through Mr McCabe’s visionary ‘think global act local’ approach enabling it to expand its football operations beyond that of their South Yorkshire home and beyond the framework of football. Having implanted and nurtured a range of revenue streams Sheffield’s viability does not rest on their fans alone. “This is an approach we at the Mariners want to pursue,” said Mr Gorman, “I see the Mariners continuing to grow and become an iconic institution on the Central Coast way beyond the next generation or two but for a hundred years and more.”

Commenting on his investment in the Mariners Mr McCabe said, “By joining forces with Peter Turnbull in the Mariners FC Unit Trust, we have ensured that the Mariners are in a strong position to, amongst many other things, develop and establish their youth development and talent identification initiatives.”

Mariners now part of a worldwide network
“Through our worldwide network of clubs that now includes the Mariners we have set up pathways for player and staff exchanges between the clubs and have opened up a fresh association of sponsorship opportunities.”

“Given Sheffield United’s experience in generating alternative revenues to football, we will ensure that the Mariners are established for the long term and continually challenging for top honours in the future, as they have done since their inception,” Mr McCabe said.

Commenting on the Mariners association with Sheffield United and the Scarborough Group, Business Central Coast General Manager Kerry Ruffels said, “The implications for our region are immense and far more than money can buy for our Central Coast brand. The Mariners will carry our name to an audience of billions of people worldwide.

“There is no other project, event or initiative that has the capacity to deliver – directly and indirectly – the opportunities to promote the brand ‘Central Coast’,” he said. “And further, there is no other organisation on the Central Coast that can do what the Central Coast Mariners can do to promote the region. It is not wrong to suggest the brand ‘Central Coast’ is not, through a campaign or passively, quoted somewhere in the world every week of the year,” said Mr Ruffels. Before looking overseas the Central Coast Mariners cemented their position at the grassroots level and have become the envy of the A-League.

The Mariners regularly visit schools throughout the Wyong and Gosford areas with a commitment to develop our own and engage the community through other programs. Through their Ambassador program, each of the region’s twenty-two local clubs has been assigned a Mariners player or coach to represent them at their official club functions.

Further afield the Mariners have signed partnership deals with four Sydney associations (Ku-ring-gai, Manly-Warringah, Gladesville-Hornsby and Granville District), the Central West association based in Orange, and Capital Football (ACT).

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