• Second bit at the cherry ... Arnold previously rejected an offer from Sydney FC to remain at the Mariners (Getty)
Graham Arnold denied a Japanese media report that he was sacked by Vegalta Sendai, claiming he and the club decided to part ways by mutual consent.
By
SBS EXCLUSIVE: Scott McIntyre

9 Apr 2014 - 11:33 AM  UPDATED 9 Apr 2014 - 1:17 PM

Arnold left Central Coast Mariners mid-season and only joined J-League side Vegalta Sendai five months ago and endured a winless start to his tenure, featuring four losses and two draws. After Vegalta's 4-0 loss at Urawa Reds, Arnold requested a meeting with the club’s President which took place when the squad returned to Sendai.

It was at that meeting where the one-time Australia coach outlined his concerns with the direction in which the club was moving.

'I told the President directly that I wasn’t happy with the age of the squad, with the fact that we hadn’t been able to make a lot of change and that many of the older players were resistant to change," Arnold said.

All of the off-season domestic transfer dealings were taken by the club’s sporting director and it left Arnold with a squad unbalanced in both numbers and age, with 17 of the group over the age of 30.

'I told the President directly that I felt as if I was coaching someone else’s team and in the end I have my standards to uphold," Arnold said.

'I left the meeting for them to discuss the direction of the club and they said they needed to consider the sponsors and supporters and I understand that.

'In the end it was genuinely a decision that we arrived at together; things weren’t working with the changes we’d liked to have made and we agreed to part ways.

'Despite the way things ended I walk away with my head held high and I feel I’ve become a better coach and a better person. I’ve got no regrets and I enjoyed every minute of the experience."

Arnold also denied reports that he had asked for a payout.

The World Game understands Arnold will be paid for the work he has done so far, having recommended to the club that any money it saves on a payout be used to help retain the services of fitness coach Andrew Clark.

It is believed that Clark is negotiating with the club while the future of on-loan players Michael McGlinchey, from the Mariners, and Danny Vukovic, from Perth Glory, remains up in the air.