Mariners chairman Charlesworth slams Rudan credentials

Central Coast Mariners chairman Mike Charlesworth has fueled the fire, questioning the credentials of Fox Sports' A-League analysts, escalating a row sparked by panelist Mark Rudan’s stinging rebuke of Nick Montgomery’s red-card tackle against Western Sydney Wanderers.

David Gallop Press Conference

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The Mariners believe Rudan's was an unfounded attack on the veteran midfielder’s integrity after his lunge at Western Sydney Wanderers' Golgol Mebrahtu.

Rudan, who played in the A-League for Sydney FC and Adelaide United, then went on to suggest Montgomery would have been aware of Mebrahtu's troubled injury past.

Charlesworth insisted the tackle, described by Rudan as ''shocking'' and ''as bad as you are going to see'', had no malicious intent.

He also said Montgomery “would never attempt to maim or harm a fellow professional in any way" and has an "impeccable track record over 20 years in the game".

Charlesworth, who divides his time between London and Sydney, instead took at aim at Fox Sports, and Rudan.

“I had hardly really heard of Mark Rudan before this," Charlesworth said. 

“Who is he? What are his credentials and experience at the top level? The A-League is a wonderful product watched in over a 100 countries globally and doesn’t it deserve some pundits who are globally recognised and with experience at the very highest level?

“They of course have Mark Bosnich and he’s well respected but some of the others I’m not so sure, especially when viewed across Europe and Asia there is an abundance of respected ex-players from Europe looking for punditry work who would love to work in the A-League and it would help export what is already a great competition.” 

Charlesworth said the A-League’s Match Review Committee's decision to impose a one week ban instead of a two week ban is further proof there was no malevolence in his actions.

The Mariners made a formal complaint to Fox Sports on Wednesday.

"Shocking tackle particularly because it's on a fellow professional who has just come back from a 12 month knee reconstruction ... that is as bad a tackle as you are going to see," Rudan said on Saturday night. 

Rudan was also asked on air if Montgomery would be aware of Mebrahtu’s injury past.

“Absolutely you know that," he said.

Charlesworth went into bat for club captain Montgomery, who will miss this weekend's trip to play Wellington Phoenix in Christchurch. 

"Rudan has deeply offended Monty, who is not known as a violent player in any way over the course of a long career," Charlesworth said.

"We are not publicly defending the tackle; it’s more a case of stating that he has had a pretty impeccable career.

"That said, I don’t feel the tackle was a bad as it’s been portrayed. For Rudan to imply that there was some malice in it, I thought was irresponsible and inaccurate. His comments were poor journalism and clearly wrong in their implication."

The Mariners chief accepts the club are ''easy targets'' for critics because of their position at the bottom of the table.

“We do deserve criticism on the basis of our results to date and you can't blame commentators for that," he said. "We have brought that on ourselves. But this is a different issue."

Charlesworth also mocked suggestions from Fairfax Media that he is on course to finalise the sale of the club to Chinese investors.

"I have had no conversations with anybody from China about the club at all," he said. "The last Chinese guy I spoke to was when I ordered a Chicken Chow Mein over a year ago.

“I don’t know where people get this garbage. The Mariners are in solid hands, we’re opening our $25 million office complex in a couple months and expecting to move forward with another $50 million investment to complete our Centre of Excellence later this year. We have always invited investment but as far as a change in ownership or direction this is not the right time.”

Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley chimed in, saying the suggestion Montgomery would set out to injure a fellow A-League player are "appalling" and "incredibly disrespectful".

"I get that people have opinions," Walmsley said on Thursday.

"But to publicly have an opinion about what somebody's thinking and the intent that somebody went into a situation with that affects another person on the pitch, I think it's appalling.

"In Nick Montgomery, he's had two red cards in his career.

"He got a red card for a late tackle, it was probably a little bit reckless, and he got a one-match ban for it. We cop it on the chin.

"But to even contemplate, let alone speak publicly, about him doing that with intent to hurt somebody is incredibly disrespectful.

"It impacts on the integrity of one of our players publicly, which is not on. I'll support Monty to the hilt on that."


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5 min read
Published 28 January 2016 at 4:57pm
By David Lewis