You do know the Central Coast Mariners won the wooden spoon last season, right? Picture: Getty Images
You do know the Central Coast Mariners won the wooden spoon last season, right? Picture: Getty Images

Usain Bolt may be joining A-League

EVERY year since 2013, fans - like myself - of the Central Coast Mariners have watched the team struggle to relive the glory days of the rather short Graham Arnold-led era.

We've seen a procession of quality players leave the NSW soccer club, with some returning for a second chance at greatness, but we've seemed to struggle both on the field and off since then.

There were the dark days under Phil Moss, darker days with Tony Walmsley in charge, finishing with the recent overcast with a hint of drizzle days of Paul Okon.

This season, however, with new boss Mike Mulvey - the former Brisbane Roar winning coach - things have looked promising ahead of pre-season, with some young players joining the ranks, as well as the likes of former Mariners superstars Mike McGlinchey and Matt Simon coming back into the fold.

I know, I know, we say that every season.

No marquee signings, but what can you expect with a budget as tight as a jar of peanut butter at a squirrel convention?

You can imagine the surprise, then, upon reading The Daily Telegraph's headline story: "USAIN BOLT SET TO LIGHT UP THE A-LEAGUE".

What's all that about?

Turns out the Mariners' new sporting director, Mike Phelan - an ex-Manchester United coach - has been reportedly briefed to supervise Bolt's trial at the struggling club, with Mulvey, a Manchester United youth player, on board with the idea.

Reminds me of that time Lionel Richie's agent tricked him into performing at the Central Coast Stadium at Gosford.

Hello? Er, anyone? This isn’t the Gold Coast, is it? picture: AAP/Sue Graham
Hello? Er, anyone? This isn’t the Gold Coast, is it? picture: AAP/Sue Graham

As 31-year-old players go, fans would probably have preferred Uruguay's Edinson Cavani, but he's busy at Paris Saint-Germain right this minute.

So why not Usain Bolt?

Well, because the whole idea is a little bit insane. Sure, he can run fast, probably faster than most even at his age, but it's no good if he's unable to control the ball.

We don't want a situation like the one below, where Bolt takes off up the field and keeps going, disappearing out between the palm trees into Brisbane Water.

He'd be a liability in the box, going up for a header with his arm extended in his signature lightning bolt pose.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica, you’re the man. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Usain Bolt of Jamaica, you’re the man. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

I mean, has he had any previous experience? I know he's had a crack at cricket.

Here he is playing with Australian cricketers Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb and Aaron Finch during the Gatorade Fastest Run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 10, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images for Gatorade
Here he is playing with Australian cricketers Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb and Aaron Finch during the Gatorade Fastest Run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 10, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images for Gatorade

And I do admire that he somehow managed to get in before this fella.

Jarryd Hayne: “What? Mariners wanted a marquee signing? Dammit.” Picture: AAP/Dan Peled.
Jarryd Hayne: “What? Mariners wanted a marquee signing? Dammit.” Picture: AAP/Dan Peled.

Seriously, though, Bolt is determined to make it as footballer. At least in the near future.

He has already trialled with Borussia Dortmund (March) and Stromsgodset (June).

Sure, neither trial got him a contract, but this is the Central Coast Mariners, people.

A club that isn't scared to try something different. I mean, check out this actual season-long strip:

Bloke on the left is set to serve a 10-match ban at the start of the new season, but the shirt designer will not face charges. Picture: Peter Clark
Bloke on the left is set to serve a 10-match ban at the start of the new season, but the shirt designer will not face charges. Picture: Peter Clark

No, I think it's a good idea to try and bring in new talent - even if they aren't proper footballers (yet).

I'd like to see Aussie former NBA star and new Sydney Kings basketball recruit Andrew Bogut in goal.

Sure, he's 33 now, getting on a bit, but that's just a baby for keepers.

And at 2.13 metres tall, he'd keep a few shots out.

Check out Bogut’s wingspan. Note the footy in his left hand - is he planning a Bolt-inspired cross-code career switch? Picture: David Caird
Check out Bogut’s wingspan. Note the footy in his left hand - is he planning a Bolt-inspired cross-code career switch? Picture: David Caird

Personally, I can't wait for the pre-season to start if Bolt does try out for the Mariners.

He'd be a great addition to the side that is lacking in pace after all its experienced, fast wingers and forwards were sold off and replaced with less experienced, younger models.

Rather a team of Expendables, we're shaping into The A-Team (The A-Team then, I mean, not The A-Team now). Let's hope the FFA (Football Federation Australia) can underwrite this deal and make it happen.

Let's also hope Bolt can pass, shoot or tackle as well as run up and down the pitch - because Mariners fans cannot put up with another season like the last one.



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