Pilgrims legend Mariner takes charge at Toronto
LEGENDARY former Plymouth Argyle striker Paul Mariner has taken over as the head coach and director of soccer operations at Canadian club Toronto FC.
Mariner, 59, had previously been the director of player development at Toronto, a role which he assumed in January 2011 after leaving the coaching staff at Argyle.
Toronto are bottom of the Eastern Conference in the MLS with a record of one win and nine defeats in 10 games this season.
Mariner replaces former Dutch international midfielder Aron Winter as Toronto's head coach and his first match will be away to Sporting KC in Kansas City on Saturday.
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"I believe our team is better than its record shows and that we can achieve success throughout the remainder of the season," Mariner (right) told the club's website.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and turning things around on the pitch as soon as possible."
Tom Anselmi, Toronto's executive vice-president, thought the decision to replace Winter with Mariner was 'necessary' given the team's results.
He said: "I'm confident in Paul's abilities and skills to lead our team out of our current position and through the rest of the season.
"The fact that he has been part of our management team will make the transition an easy one for the club, and most importantly our players."
Taking over a struggling side is not a new experience for Mariner.
He was the head coach at Argyle when Paul Sturrock was removed from his position as manager in December 2009, with the Pilgrims struggling in the Championship.
Mariner assumed responsibility for first team affairs at Home Park, assisted by John Carver – now the No 2 to Alan Pardew at Newcastle United. However, Mariner and Carver could not save Argyle from relegation and the club's then board of directors decided to appoint a new manager.
They brought in Peter Reid that summer, with Mariner and Carver initially remaining at the club as coaches.
Carver soon moved to Sheffield United, however, and Mariner followed him out of Home Park later in the season when he linked up with Toronto.
One of Mariner's assistant coaches at Toronto is former Canada international and Argyle midfielder Jason Bent.
The 34-year-old was part of the Pilgrims' league title-winning squad of 2001/02.
He worked in Toronto's youth academy for three years before stepping up to the role of first team assistant coach in February 2011.