Okon will go to 'bigger club than Wanderers', scoffs Charlesworth

Central Coast owner Mike Charlesworth says he "knows nothing" of a mooted Western Sydney Wanderers bid to poach coach Paul Okon, declaring he will ultimately end up "going to a bigger club than the Wanderers".

Paul Okon

Paul Okon Source: Getty Images

In a further back-hander to the Wanderers and their chairman Paul Lederer, Charlesworth added that taking the vacant coaching gig at Wanderland "would not be a step up" for the former Socceroos star.

Okon was reported by Goal.com to have had discussions with Lederer over becoming the long-term successor to Tony Popovic, who departed earlier this month to take the reins at Turkish Super Lig strugglers Karobukspur.

Other sources close to the Wanderers state that rookie coach Okon has been offered just shy of $200,000 per year to succeed $750,000-plus Popovic, with Lederer set on a budget-conscious home-grown replacement.

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Previous negotiations between Lederer and Australia assistant Ante Militic floundered after the pair failed to agree terms, leaving caretaker coach Hayden Foxe in charge for the time being.

The Wanderers interest in Okon has raised several eyebrows, considering his relative inexperience as he enters his second season at the helm in Gosford, where his astute player recruitment on a shoestring budget promises greater reward than last season's 8th-placed finish.



He is contracted until the end of next season, and Charlesworth is clearly unimpressed by the prospect of any unsolicited interest from an A-League rival.

"We expect Paul to see out his contract (which runs until the end of next season)," he insisted.

"We're very happy with him and he's going nowhere.

"We believe he's taking the club forward and don't anticipate losing him.

"I'm not saying he hasn't been approached, who knows, but I have heard nothing from within our club."

Clearly irked by a possible clandestine connection, Charlesworth added pointedly: "If, at some point, he does move elsewhere to better himself I expect it will be to a bigger club than the Wanderers.

"I don't see them as a step up for him.

"Frankly, though, I don't think there's much in this, unless it's all happened without my knowledge."

The Mariners have begun the new season in haphazard fashion, losing 5-1 to rivals Newcastle in the opening round, drawing 2-2 on the road against the Wanderers, and then giving up a one goal lead to succumb 2-1 away to Perth Glory on Sunday.


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Published 23 October 2017 at 1:28pm
By Dave Lewis