Bolt’s short list of A-League demands
USAIN Bolt jets into Australia this Saturday morning with a hit list of demands.
First off, that his hire car be black.
"Colour of choice, apparently," laughs Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp. "So black it is."
And as for all the other demands on that Bolt rider?
"No, there's only that one," continues the football boss who now has five days, and counting, to ready for the highest profile trialist in A-League history.
"We've had no requests for private bodyguards, personal masseurs, chauffeurs. Nothing about providing bottled water from France, either.
"Apparently, Usain's happy to drink Gosford tap water like the rest of us."
Which is wonderful, sure.
And certainly important.
For ever since Bolt's impending arrival made international headlines back in July, Mariners management have stressed the $50 million striker will be treated no differently to any of those other wannabe professionals - around 50 in total - who have descended upon Mariners HQ in recent weeks to trial for a contract.
Still, this isn't like giving a shot to some East Gosford Ram, right?
No, this is Project Bolt.
A large-scale operation which involves transporting, housing and protecting a fella who carries all the hype that comes with eight Olympic golds, that 9.58-second PB and, undoubtedly, the most revered of sporting titles - Fastest. Man. Ever.
While the Mariners, understandably, are giving little away about the Jamaican's accommodation, The Daily Telegraph understands the club has employed the help of millionaire property developer and Central Coast resident Tony Denny.
Apart from owning the Gosford Classic Car Museum - a personal collection of over 400 vehicles worth $70 million - Denny also owns and manages a number of secluded rental properties which, located on sprawling, private estates, would be perfect for Bolt during his stay.
Yet rather than also loaning one of Denny's expensive cars, or receiving a driver, Bolt will instead get about in one of several Hyundais the club is provided with each year as part of a sponsorship deal.
Asked how Team Bolt would fit inside anything but a stretch Hummer, Mielekamp laughed: "There isn't any entourage.
"It's only Bolt and his manager, and the latter is already here. So when Usain arrives at Sydney airport this weekend, he will be travelling alone. And when he drives, it will be in a Hyundai like everyone else at the club."
Elsewhere, the Mariners will also shift a large chunk of the team's training sessions from its intimate Tuggerah fields to the 20,000 seat Central Coast Stadium.
Extra security staff will also be on hand for all public appearances by the team.
But as for Bolt receiving his own private dressing room, as was the case when Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero played for Sydney FC?
"No, Usain will be putting his boots on with everyone else," Mielekamp insists.
"The one thing we've been really firm on is that Usain, while trialling for a contract, be treated the same as any player.
"Obviously, we understand the realities of having somebody of his profile. But (when it comes to football) there will be no advantages.
"And that's what Bolt wants - this is about his football journey.
"There are other clubs (internationally) who offered millions more than he'd able to earn on a contract with us. He's coming here for the right reasons."
Apart from being the biggest thing to hit Gosford since Ploddy the Dinosaur in 1963, Bolt's arrival will also kickstart a Super Saturday of sport in Sydney.
One which includes a Bledisloe Cup match at ANZ Stadium, a Swans and Giants AFL derby, three suburban NRL games - including future Immortal Johnathan Thurston's last Harbour City appearance - and the return of the world's greatest racehorse Winx at Royal Randwick.