Graham Arnold says it’s a dream come true to coach Sydney FC after penning a three-year deal with the glamour A-League club.
Sky Blues chairman Scott Barlow on Thursday confirmed Arnold’s appointment, making him their ninth coach in 10 seasons.
The former Socceroos mentor replaces Frank Farina, who was sacked barely two weeks ago after failing to get the club beyond the opening week of the A-League finals.
Arnold, who previously knocked back the head coaching role at Sydney FC in 2012, led the sparsely-funded Central Coast to last year’s A-League title after winning the minor premiership with them the previous season.
He left the Mariners during the 2013-14 campaign to coach Japanese side Vegalta Sendai, but parted company with them in April.
He had been in talks with a number of clubs, including the Newcastle Jets before they pulled out of negotiations last week because they couldn’t agree on terms.
“I am extremely excited to be here,” the 50-year-old said in a statement.
“It has always been my dream as a Sydney boy to coach Sydney FC, in my view the biggest club in the country.
“I’m looking forward to working with the players and coaching Sydney FC to consistent domestic success and Asian Champions League qualification.”
Barlow said Arnold was one of the A-League’s most successful coaches with a proven track record of producing “high quality, winning football teams”.
“He brings a wealth of international and Asian Champions League experience and as a former Socceroos coach, has dealt with the demands of coaching a high profile team,” he said.
Arnold will take the reins immediately, with players due to return to training in June.
Defender Sasa Ognenovski, who has signed on with the Sky Blues for next season, had earlier backed the pending appointment.
“It’s good that they’ve acted so swiftly,” Ognenovski told Fox Sports.
“If it’s a three-year deal, at least they’ve got a plan in place and they’re going to give him time to build the team that he wants to be build.”
GRAHAM ARNOLD’S MANAGERIAL STATS
1998-2001: Coach of Northern Spirit. Guided them to the NSL playoffs in their maiden season.
2000-2006: Assistant coach of Australia
2006-2007: Coach of Australia
2007-2008: Coach of Australia Under-23
2010-2013: Coach of Central Coast Mariners. Won a premiership (2011/12) and won a championship (2012/13). Won A-League coach of the year award (2011/12)
2013-2014: Coach of J-League club Vegalta Sendai
2014: Coach of Sydney FC
LIST OF ALL SYDNEY FC COACHES
Pierre Littbarski – Feb 2005-Jun 2006
Terry Butcher – Jul 2006-Feb 2007
Branko Culina – Apr 2007-Oct 2007
John Kosmina – Oct 2007-Jan 2009
Vitezslav Lavicka – Feb 2009-May 2012
Ian Crook – May 2012-Nov 2012
Frank Farina – Nov 2012-April 2014
Graham Arnold – May 2014
Steve Corica (caretaker coach) – Nov 2012