DURING my playing days one of my greatest assets was my passion, even ifit sometimes got me into trouble.
And one thing that I am extremely passionate about is Newcastlefootball.
If you count my time with Newcastle United in the old national league, and my two stints with the Jets, it adds up to more than 120 games over six seasons –long enough to form a lastingemotional attachment.
Having played for Newcastle when we won a grand final and were attracting sell-out crowds to home games, I know how much potential the club has and how much support there is in the community.
Unfortunately it’s been a long time since Novocastrianshada successfulteam to cheer for.
There are any number of reasons why such a proud footballing region has struggled for so long.Obviously the club’s ownership situation is well documented. The sooner that is resolved (and I’m hearing promising rumours), hopefully the sooner we start seeing some progress, on and off the field.
But one thing that has consistently been a problem for the Jets has been retaining good players.I’ll never forget how, within days of winning the grand final in 2008, Andrew Durante, Mark Bridge and Stuart Musialik had signed with rival A-League clubs.There’s not much clubs can do to stop Australian players heading overseas. But when you lose your teammates to other A-League sides, that’s really disappointing.
Players come and go. But at Newcastle,every off-season seems like a rebuilding phase.
I was at a Jobe Wheelhouse Football coaching clinic this week and I was asking kids how many Jets players they could name. Most only knew two or three.
Some even said they supported other teams “because Newcastle always let their best players leave’’.
But the one player almost everyone knew wasDavid Carney. With that in mind, I can’t understand the delay in re-signing Dave.
He’s been their best player this seasonand his experience is so valuable, when you consider the Jets have a very young squad.
He’s only 32, andDavehas missed only one game this season, through suspension. He’s got plenty of good football ahead of him.
He’s had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus during his career but I doubt he has ever been so happy and settled.
From my experience, Daveis not only a good player, he’s a great team man. The type of bloke you can build a club culture around.
I think he deserves some transparency. If the Jets don’t want to re-sign him, let him know so he can start looking for another club.If they do want to sign him, then make him an offer. I’m sure he’ll provide value for money.
I really hope he is not destined tojoin the long list of good players the Jets have let slip through their fingers.
WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE: Former Socceroos David Carney, left, and Joel Griffiths were teammates at the Newcastle Jets last season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll