Sydney FC striker Matt Simon believes the Mariners hierarchy are underestimating the desire of the Central Coast people for success, after comments from Chairman Mike Charlesworth suggesting the club were happy to lose for the sake of entertainment.
Simon, who was born and bred on the Central Coast and spent nine seasons with the club, has also praised the professionalism at the Sky Blues after joining in August, and said that while some at the Mariners just want to entertain, he knows their players have only winning on their mind.
“I think they’re underestimating the people. Central Coast people, they’re hard workers and they want to win,” Simon said.
“I know a lot of people on the Central Coast want to win. If they want entertainment they can go to Erina Fair or down to the Crown Plaza they can get it. When they go to football they want to see their team win and I know their players want to win as well.
“It’s going to be a hard game for us, I know their players are keen to win and we’re going to have to be on our toes. Hopefully we’ll come away with the three points.”
The ‘Wizard from Woy Woy’ also admitted he was disappointed with how his time at the Mariners’ ended.
“The decision to leave was taken out of my hands and once it was my eyes were really opened up to a different side of things,” he continued.
“It’s different professionalism, at this club it’s a different level and the best I’ve been at. Arnie is still the same person he is and I can’t speak highly enough of this club, the way they look after their players, the facilities and the professionalism of the place is outstanding.”
Simon faces his former club for the first time on Saturday at Central Coast Stadium (kick off 5:15pm) and says he’s looking forward to seeing all his family and friends in the stands as he labelled the clash another Hyundai A-League ‘derby’.
“It definitely never crossed my mind when I was nine seasons at the Mariners [that I’d play against them] but it comes up tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it,” Simon said.
“I feel like I’m going there with a clear mind and nothing to prove. I had nine seasons there, leading goalscorer at the club and voted into their Team of the Decade so I’m going up there pretty happy.
“It’s the first time my family and friends will be going to Gosford and actually barracking for Sydney, they’re all looking forward to it there’s quite a few numbers going so it should be a good day.
“I’m just concentrating on training well and making sure I make the squad for the game because we’ve got so many good players in the team,” he continued.
“I think it’s a derby. There’s not many k’s between the two clubs and it’s always been a good rivalry there and our fans, they turn out in numbers in Gosford, and it’s on the calendar for the Mariners fans to come out because they know it’s going to be a good game.
“We know our fans will turn up, hopefully the Mariners fans do too and we can put on a good performance. Sydney FC have given me that opportunity to continue my career and I’m so grateful for that and I’m really looking forward to repaying them and repaying these fans as well.”
Sydney FC take on the Central Coast Mariners on tomorrow at Central Coast Stadium (kick off 5:15pm). Catch the game live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
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