Let’s hope Jets are not left grounded

IF I was a Newcastle Jets fan I would be up in arms about what is going on at my club.

Five players, including former captain Kew Jaliens and ex-Socceroos David Carney and Joel Griffiths, were given the push along with three members of the coaching staff, while youth coach Michael Bridges also quit apparently in protest at the culling instigated by owner Nathan Tinkler.

And there, for me, lies the problem - Tinkler.

Over the past few months nobody has known whether the man, who made millions from mining, was coming or going - almost literally.

There have been rumours the owners of Scottish club Dundee United were interested in buying the Jets amid talk that Tinkler was ready to cut and run just like he did with rugby league outfit the Newcastle Knights.

He denied that in an interview last week, claiming he never had any intention to sell, but the rumours must have started somewhere. There is, as they say, no smoke without fire.

Tinkler also claimed this week he had paid off the club's outstanding debts and is now ready to take the Jets forward.

His move to back coach Phil Stubbins and sack the players and coaches amid talk of a dressing room coup, was certainly brave, especially considering the Jets have won only once in 16 A-League outings this season.

In any other campaign that would see the Jets rooted to the bottom, but amazingly, Western Sydney Wanderers are going even worse.

According to reports, Stubbins told Tinkler there had been a player revolt and his coaching position was being undermined.

Now, while I admire Tinkler for his stance in backing his coach 100%, I have to question just what is going on at the club.

I have always said that players must take some responsibility if results are not going well, but by the same token, the coach has to take some of the blame because he is the one who picks the team.

If things had got that bad, why didn't he just leave the players who he believed were against his methods out of the team?

By sacking the players Tinkler has put pressure on his own coach as he now has to start all over again and he is already well behind the eight ball in terms of results.

Tinkler has made Mitchell Murphy, who will start work on February 16, the club's new chief executive after Robbie Middleby quit just after Christmas.

Murphy did a good job with Football Federation Victoria, but he too will need time to settle in to his job and that is something Newcastle and Tinkler does not have the luxury of.

Tinkler says he, like the fans, is hurting to see the club in this sort of turmoil on and off the pitch.

But I just wonder whether his heart is really in this and whether this 'Jets project' is just a millionaire's plaything.

Let's hope for Newcastle and the A-League's sake that his intentions are genuine and the Jets get out of this mess.

The last thing the A-League needs after just hosting an extremely successful Asian Cup is one of its clubs to fall by the wayside.

The league has already lost two clubs in 10 years of competition and nobody, especially Football Federation Australia will want the Jets to go the way of the North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United.

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