Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold knocked back an offer from Sheffield United because of what he felt was a poor and non-pregressive football philosophy.
After knocking back an offer to coach Sheffield United, Graham Arnold has warned Hyundai A-League players against migrating to the English lower leagues, saying he was 'shocked' by the outdated football culture.
Since taking Central Coast Mariners to a maiden championship, Arnold has been in growing demand and the Blades - who have a long-standing partnership with the Gosford-based club - were hoping to entice him to Bramall Lane. But while Arnold remains keen to broaden his horizons, he quickly discovered the English third-tier club was not for him.
''I had a video conference with three directors and (football director) Dave Bassett, and to be honest I was shocked with what I heard,'' Arnold says. ''When I started talking about how I liked to play out from the back, it became clear pretty quickly that wasn't the way they thought football should be played. Sheffield United are a big club, with big support, but I couldn't see myself progressing in that kind of environment.
''What it showed me is that our football here has advanced a lot further, and a lot quicker, than we tend to appreciate. I've been as guilty as anyone of underestimating our league. The whole experience has taught me something, that's for sure.
''While I've made it clear I have ambitions to go overseas, I also have the ambition to go somewhere where there is a good philosophy, where the league is building. I didn't see that at Sheffield United.''
In the aftermath, Arnold has issued a warning to Hyundai A-League players looking to progress their careers abroad. ''After what I've heard, I would say to any player, any agent, even parents, don't go there,'' he says. ''Playing in the English lower leagues is not going to improve your game.''
At this point, Arnold is poised to see out the final season of his contract with the Mariners, although Chinese club Guangzhou R&F, as well as clubs in South Korea and Japan, have continued to show interest in his services.