Just days after confirming a spot in this year’s A-League Men’s Finals, Central Coast has a new majority shareholder with Anytime Fitness co-founder Richard Peil buying the Mariners.
Peil has joined the Mariners Board and Mariners Academy as a director and is expected to be named chairman, pending approval from Football Australia and the Australian professional leagues.
Once approvals are complete, current owner Mike Charlesworth will step down as board director.
The English businessman, who rescued the club in 2013 before the Mariners won that season’s grand final, has been looking for a new investor since August 2020.
Charlesworth’s move came after the Mariners claimed four wooden spoons in five seasons, but have since reached the final in the past two seasons, first under Alen Stajcic and then with former player Nick Montgomery at leading this campaign.
Peil said he was hopeful to build on the platform built over the past two years at the Gosford-based club.
“We will never be the biggest spending team, but we will definitely spend more money,” he said.
“I like being the underdog and I think that label suits us on the Central Coast, but we need to put more resources into the players, we need to put more resources into the coaching staff, we need to put more resources in the sports science department.
“There are many, many passionate people at this club and I just want to put my passion into their passion and see what we can create together.”
Charlesworth, who will retain ownership of the Mariners Center of Excellence, was confident he was leaving the Mariners in good hands.
“It took a long time to find the right investor for the Central Coast Mariners and I’m confident that Rich is the perfect fit,” he said.
“Rich has an excellent track record in the sports industry through his company, Anytime Fitness, and that experience will only help our club grow.
“Richard’s energy is contagious and it’s great to have football running through his veins. For many years the club has focused on survival unapologetically but with a great team of people on and off the field, I’m sure Richard can build on the growth we’ve seen over the past two years.”