The Central Coast council has entered crisis talks to try to prevent the Central Coast Mariners from leaving Gosford for another region.
The council, state and federal MPs, business owners and the club itself have all entered into last-ditch talks to try to keep the club from relocating, according to Central Coast Community News reports.
Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp addressed the council with an emotive plea for more support in order to keep the club on the coast, as talk of relocating the club following its impending sale becomes more likely.
Mielekamp said - among relocation options - there was possible offer in relocating the club to Canberra.
“The loss of the Mariners would be a major blow; it is the Coast’s only major sporting club and we have already heard from Mr Mielekamp that they are not feeling the love from Council,” councillor Bruce McLachlan said.
“I can’t believe we’re staring down the barrel of potentially losing the Mariners,” another councillor, Rebecca Gale said.
Some councillors did express uncertainty over how exactly the council could help keep the club, with the amount of financial support needed to overcome any high-profile bid almost certainly requiring business interests.
Leaving the Gosford region would be a hammer blow to the Central Coast region, after the Mariners built a Centre of Excellence academy in the area and given the club's negligible record in attracting other sporting clubs.
One NRL club, the Central Coast Bears, was proposed but rejected, leading one local MP to state that if Gosford lost the Mariners, they would never have national - let alone international - representation again.
But given the Mariners' patchy record with their own council and the turnaway in fans over recent seasons due to dysfunctional on and off-field displays, the future of one of the A-League's proudest clubs is up in the air.