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Emotional Mariners boss in tears following stunning A-League grand final win after club was on the brink of collapsing: ‘The amount of times we’ve not been able to pay bills’
- Mariners CEO in tears following grand final victory
- Shaun Mielekamp thought club was going to shut
- Mariners smashed Melbourne City 6-1 in the final
Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp had tears in his eyes after watching his side’s 6-1 A-League grand final obliteration of Melbourne City on Saturday night.
Despite winning the league by 11 points in the regular season, City were humbled by the plucky underdogs in Paramatta.
It is the club’s second title in their history, 10 years on from winning their first piece of silverware in 2013 and caps a remarkable journey from three consecutive wooden spoons to Australian champions.
Mielekamp guided the club through the lowest of lows and was emotional following the stunning performance.
‘I think the big word that keeps coming up is: unbelievable,’ Mielekamp told keepup.com.au
Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp was emotional after watching his side’s stunning victory over Melbourne City on Saturday night
It is the club’s second title in their history, 10 years on from winning their first piece of silverware in 2013 and caps a remarkable journey from cellar dwellers to champions
‘There was a time during COVID, I was the only person working. I thought we were just going to close the club. The club was gone.
‘We kept saying believe… and now, it’s unbelievable. To see this club, to see our club, to see our families out here in this. It just leaves you speechless.
‘The amount of times we’ve not been able to pay bills, and had to scrap for everything, and constantly feeling the responsibility of the community to keep the club alive.
Just a few years ago, the Mariners had been one of the worst professional clubs in all of Australian sports, so Saturday night’s celebrations meant a little bit more to everyone involved.
‘I didn’t know our club actually had this in it,’ said Mielekamp. ‘I didn’t know we could be this amazing. I always believed this club was something special, but this is special beyond words.
‘The boys epitomise everything this club stands for: you don’t back down, we believe, we work hard, we back each other in, we’re a big, big family, and I just hope to be fair that the rest of the league sees that this is what the A-League is.
‘It got so surreal for a while,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t until I hugged my family and my kids, and thought of the years we had, the tough times. I just can’t believe it.’
Jason Cummings provided the Mariners with possibly the best farewell present ever after netting a hat trick in the match.
Jason Cummings completed a hat-trick in his final game in a Mariners jersey
The shock victory for Central Coast is one of the comeback stories of the ages
Before the grand final, Cummings confirmed that the big game ‘is the last dance’ for him, amid reports the Socceroos cult hero is moving to India.
‘Last dance man, I don’t know what happened,’ Cummings said after the 6-1 win.
‘We have just beat the champions who caked the league, we have won 6-1 What a journey man. I’ve been here a year and a half and the gaffer changed my life.
‘My career was spiraling out of control but I love the Coast man, I’m lost for words. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life, I’ve never had a manager believe in me like he has. We are going to party tonight.’