Loyal Clubman earns highest honour

On the eve of the team’s departure for Beijing for its opening game in the AFC Champions League 2009, the Newcastle Jets today announced that Matthew Thompson has been given the honour to wear the captain’s armband for this prestigious tournament.

On the eve of the team-s departure for Beijing for its opening game in the AFC Champions League 2009, the Newcastle Jets today announced that Matthew Thompson has been given the honour to wear the captain-s armband for this prestigious tournament.

In announcing Thompson as captain, the club also announced that henceforth the captain-s armband will be worn by the player with the most number of top-flight appearances for the club.

The versatile Thompson has currently appeared a Hyundai A-League record 92 times for the Jets, scoring 11 goals in the process, and setting a benchmark for consistency across the league. A current Qantas Socceroo, it is believed that Thompson will continue to lead the long, proud tradition that is football in the Hunter region.

The club-s Director of Football, Remo Nogarotto, said that in arriving at this decision "the club has looked at a variety of leadership models around the world and settled on a policy which it believes will promote loyalty and tradition".

"Everyone has a view about what constitutes the ideal captain and invariably it gets down to a personal opinion. This policy in our mind removes this subjectivity and institutionalises the honour for those players who, over a long period, have put the club first,” Mr. Nogarotto said.

“Probably the finest expression of this policy is AC Milan where the legendary Paolo Maldini continues to lead the club by virtue of his seniority, and where Brazilian great Kaka recently declared that one of his motivations for remaining at AC Milan in the face of an aggressive bid from Manchester City was to accumulate sufficient appearances to succeed Maldini one day as captain.”

"Matt Thompson has been with us from day one. He has been a loyal and proud member of this club through its highs and lows. He embodies the sort of understated but important values that are representative of the Hunter and in recent times he has won belated recognition with the Socceroos. It is no surprise that a guy with these qualities ends up intersecting with this policy,” he added.

Head coach Gary van Egmond echoed these sentiments in revealing Thompson as captain today.

“Obviously what we-re looking to do with this decision is to instil a strong sense of tradition into the club. In the bigger picture, the club represents a region that is a genuine football heartland in this country so this type of institution is a perfect fit for our club.”

“On an individual basis, ‘Thomo- has excellent leadership qualities and fits the bill nicely. He has the respect of the players, has an excellent attitude toward training and playing, and has recently made his way into the national team setup.”

“We now have a good blend of youth and experience within the squad, and it will be good to see ‘Thomo- lead this side into what is an exciting time in our club-s history,” van Egmond concluded.