The Jets deserve respect
Hyundai A-League fan Brandon Broadhurst says Newcastle Jets boss Gary van Egmond should focus on team spirit, rather than discipline.
There is more to worry about for Newcastle than their abysmal away record and inability to grind out a victory.
What has become obvious to all now is an ever-growing split between the players and the manager, Gary van Egmond. Brought in after the sensational pre-season sacking of Branko Culina, GvE has failed to create and harness the most important piece of a manager's arsenal - RESPECT.
The strangest and most disappointing aspect of this is GvE should know from his original stint with the club how important this is, as it virtually created the success seen on the field.
GvE was the obvious choice for manager given he is a Novocastrian, his wife teaches primary school in the area and his daughter Emily has played for the W-League Newcastle Jets side.
Throw in the successful reign he previously enjoyed with the club and it was probably the easiest choice the Tinkler management group has had to make.
Unfortunately, GvE seems to be stuck on past accomplishments and is trying to create a team using a very autocratic, sometimes dictator-like management style.
Let-s rewind to GvE-s first stint as manager at the Jets, when Nick Theodorakopoulos was the manager of the team.
Claiming he was going to bring a new, attractive, winning form of football to the team, Theodorakopoulos was unable to gain the respect of the squad and lost decent players to other teams due to personal issues. (Liam Reddy as an example.)
Unable to win a game in the pre-season cup and having a record of 0-3-4 in the first seven games of the regular season, he was replaced by the then assistant coach, Gary van Egmond.
GvE came in and with that same squad managed to create an 8-3-3 record for the rest of the season taking the Jets to the finals series. Keep in mind this was the same squad Theodorakopoulos had (much like the current situation with Culina's assembled squad.)
Next season GvE led the squad to the championship with the 1-0 victory over rivals Central Coast Mariners. They were the first squad to win an A-League championship without a marquee player. GvE himself was named Manager of the Year.
I guess the theme I am trying to show is that the quality of the players in the squad are not nearly as important as having a squad that respects the coaching staff and wants to play for the club, the coach, the community and themselves, rather than just playing for a pay cheque.
Look back to the last few weeks and there is a squad assembled that last year managed to just miss out on finals football, even with a torrid time with injuries.
The squad now is slightly strengthened, with the likes of Ryan Griffiths and Ruben Zadkovich now at full strength, yet we are coming second last to a very young and growing Gold Coast United. This is a squad that should be playing finals football.
Some players have tried to use the media to vent their frustrations, with Kasey Wehrman noting that when travelling you need to “be a little more respectful when we travel and try and batten down the hatches and keep things tight. The longer you keep a team goalless, it builds confidence.”
That-s a pretty obvious, non-offensive comment and yet it is that comment that got Wehrman dropped for the Victory game and it now looks like he will be traded out sometime this month.
This is a player that many spectators, both Jets and neutrals, regard as one of the hardest-working, loyal squad members. One of the few who cares enough about his team and community to voice his opinion. And yet, like in a political dictatorship the one who speaks out against the leader is the one who is made to disappear.
All I ask is Gary, if you are reading this - you obviously have the skillset and ability to manage championship-winning teams. But you have lost control this time and you need to look at yourself before blaming your squad.
There is still time to turn it around, but that time is becoming increasing shorter as the squad, fans and (hopefully) ownership are not seeing a happy, cohesive squad.
Novocastrians have always appreciated a team (in any sport) that is seen to try their hardest everytime they go onto that field and the results are actually a lower priority. All we want back is our team that wants to play and success will surely follow.
This is a fan-written article by Brandon Broadhurst and does not reflect the views of FFA. If you've got something you want to get off your chest, email firstname.lastname@example.org and you could win tickets to watch your team.