I love this club. In a few short years the City of Newcastle has welcomed Martin Lee and myself with open arms.
From the very beginning we wanted to change the perception of the Jets, and connect with the community that we’re so proud to be a part of. In doing so, we’ve created an open and transparent organisation that maintains an ongoing dialogue with Members and fans.
I’d like to think I’m a pretty approachable guy, those who chat to me on Twitter would attest to that. In recent weeks I’ve noticed the way our supporters have been feeling, and it’s something I’d like to address.
The month of January is always full of speculation, with transfer talk aplenty and the potential for player movement.
This season we have a full 23-man squad – which will also participate in Asian Champions League qualifiers – with players contracted for this season and beyond. We’re not in position to make sweeping changes, nor do we need to.
Ernie, Joel and myself are working on re-signing key players for next season and the Club will have some exciting announcements over the next few weeks.
Our player budget for the 2018/19 season is the most the Club has ever spent in a single season, marginally up from last year – indicative of Martin’s overall investment and commitment to the Jets.
Despite this, the Club’s overall spend still falls below the league average.
Over time people have referenced transfer fees the Club has received from the departures of Andrew Nabbout and Jack Duncan, and are questioning where those funds are being invested.
Anyone who works in sport will tell you that in the most part owning/operating a football club is not a profitable exercise, and any money we’ve made off player transfers has ultimately come off our operating deficit.
There have also been plenty of calls for Martin to spend more on players, but it’s not as simple as that and it’s not always the answer.
Martin’s generosity towards the Jets has been nothing short of amazing, despite some publicised setbacks due to the US-China trade war.
With the bulk of his business being situated in the US, Martin’s stocks had taken a hit – that’s certainly no secret – but things have been on the improve and his commitment to the Club remains as strong as ever.
Another burning issue has been the standard of officiating, something that has caused controversy across the league.
We’ve been on the wrong end of a few calls this season, which is certainly not to blame for poor results but there is no doubting there is a high level of inconsistency across the board.
It’s a frustration for me first and foremost as a fan, and something that the Club continues to address with the Football Federation Australia (FFA).
Week-in-week-out myself, Joel Griffiths and the Football Department go through video and discuss refereeing decisions with the FFA, advocating for our Club, our players and our fans.
This work is done behind closed doors because there’s no need to air our grievances publicly, and in my opinion this is the best way to create meaningful, long-term improvements for our game.
Off the back of some of this controversy, I’ve heard plenty of fans talking about boycotting some or all of Wednesday’s F3 Derby – this is the worst possible outcome for the boys.
Any boycott punishes them for something out of their control.
We want to build an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams, and each and every one are you are an important part of that.
We’ve got 39 points left to play for this season, and while the need to pick up wins is important, there’s still plenty of football left to play.
Everyone from right across the Club holds the belief that we can make the finals and this F3 Derby could very well be the launchpad for our season.
That’s why we need you this Wednesday more than ever.
See you at the game,