For the first time in the history of the A-League Men’s soccer competition, a new book takes a look inside a championship winning season.
The Vibe Manager – Inside the Central Coast Mariners 2023 A-League Championship, written by former Socceroo Andy Bernal, is part-memoir, part insider account of the Central Coast Mariners run to, and ultimate success, in the A-League Men’s grand final earlier this year.
Through his friendship with Central Coast Mariners Chairman Richard Peil, Bernal became part of the backroom staff for the team and coach Nick ‘Monty’ Montgomery dubbed him The Vibe Manager.
“It was clear from day one that Monty is a born leader,” Bernal said.
“I immediately likened him to the great managers of the game I had met, played for or played against, like British legends Brian Clough and Alex Ferguson, the Real Madrid Spaniards, ‘Pachin’, Vicente del Bosque and Julen Lopetegui, and Australia’s very own Ange Postecoglou.”
A fitness fanatic – even at age 57 – Bernal was named Director of Athletic Development officially, but The Vibe Manager unofficially because of his ability to relate to players, not least because of his unique experience in the game which spanned playing spells in Spain, England, Australia, and much more.
The togetherness of the team was one of the stand-out qualities of the Central Coast Mariners in the 2022-23 season.
“It was the typical situation of there being no I in team,” Bernal said.
“Monty and the rest of us shaped the players – a few journeymen but mostly youngsters – into an extremely fit, cohesive, focussed and happy unit enjoying playing good football.
“In most people’s eyes, at the beginning of the season, we didn’t have a team of champions, but we showed by the end of it that we were a champion team.”
Bernal says that while Montgomery’s departure is a loss, new coach Mark Jackson has a similar background, is experienced at bringing out the best in young players, and the team can’t wait to defend its title.
The Vibe Manager is available in paperback from Fair Play Publishing, at all good bookstores and online.
A significant proportion of all proceeds for books sold via the Central Coast Mariners shop will be directed to the Central Coast Mariners Academy.
Fair Play Publishing