FOX Sports football expert Robbie Slater has lashed Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth as former coach Paul Okon spoke for the first time after his resignation.
With the former Olyroos boss walking away from the club just weeks out from the end of the season after demands were made about ceding control over recruitment.
With Okon appearing as an expert pundit on Fox Sports’ coverage of the Socceroos v Colombia on Wednesday morning, Slater said that the 45-year-old was not given the tools to be successful by a club that has been mismanaged under the current owner.
“Paulo can’t say what he wants to say,” Slater said.
“In my opinion, Mike Charlesworth has a decision to make. He did not give this man the resources needed to make it a more competitive and equitable team in this competition.
“It’s what Charlesworth doesn’t spend that is the problem.”
Slater added: “This is a successful club until [Charlesworth] took over, this is when the slide started; he is taking the mickey out of the people on the Central Coast.
“The people just want him to have a go, give them the resources they need to be the threat they used to be in the competition.
“We’re not asking him to spend like Victory and Sydney do.”
Speaking for the first time after his departure, Okon maintained his gratitude at the club for giving him the opportunity to take on his first senior job as head coach.
But he also outlined his fear for the direction of the club, with the football department under-resourced and struggling to attract the players needed to compete for finals football.
“It was coming to the end of the season anyway … it was never planned like that, not 18 months ago and certainly not at start of the season,” Okon told Fox Sports.
“I’m forever grateful for the club to give me the opportunity to coach such a successful club in a great competition but unfortunately the owner’s vision for taking the club forward is very different to mine, so it was best that I allowed them the time to start playing for next season.
“Players want to know if you’re going to be there … it’s a really delicate time so I thought it was best to part ways.”
Okon added: “It’s a very challenging position [the Mariners are in].
“By all means, the Mariners are under-resourced and don’t spend like other clubs. It does make the job very difficult, but I saw over 18 months a number of players improve in that environment.
“When you go into coaching, that’s always a real positive, and the feeling is, when you do see players, at the end, that’s probably the thing I take most from the experience.”