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Tinkler's gone a step too far

by Sebastian Hassett on Apr 11, 2012

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TWO A-League teams dead and a new one born in the space of six days. To coin Georg Cantor (or Antony Hudson for AFL fans): I see it, but I don’t believe it.

It really is sheer madness. I can’t remember the last time we had a week like this, for not even Palmergeddon measured up.

I could write a column or several on Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Newcastle but today I’d like to focus on the Jets because that’s the one nobody saw coming.

Actually, scrap that, a few saw it coming, but more on that later.

This was a big surprise to the football community, not least the Hunter region which has so faithfully gathered at Jets’ matches since the A-League began.

It’s an extraordinary turn of events; we’ve lost the Newcastle Jets.

It’s not the first time - and it probably won’t be the last time - a team has been removed from the area but the manner that Nathan Tinkler has undertaken is certainly unique.

He’s had what can only be described as almighty hissy fit, one right up there with the kind shown by his mining mate, Clive Palmer.

The Jets’ management, Hunter Sports Group, are fuming about a few things. I’ll let them tell it in their own words.

‘‘The HSG has invested almost $12 million since stepping in at short notice to save the ailing club less than 18 months ago,’’ reads their withdrawal statement. ‘‘During this period the club has been unable to resolve a variety of issues with the FFA including a $5 million acquisition fee, the Jason Culina insurance matter and continued request to address the competition’s unsustainable financial model.

‘‘These frustrations have been highlighted with the FFA’s own report identifying combined club losses in excess of $27 million for the 2012 financial year. Projections of similar losses are forecast for next year.’’

All fair and legitimate issues, but is it worth pulling a club over? Absolutely not. Nathan Tinkler has gone too far. Way too far.

What’s worse is that now we’ve unleashed the Tinkler Temper, one notorious everywhere from Morriset to Maitland and, one that, in other walks of life, has left a trail of destruction, most of which ends up in court.

He deserves explanations for his decisions but is this the right way to go about it? Killing a club that you claimed you would build into a community club? That’s pretty hypocritical if you ask me.
The flip side of the coin is that the FFA has mismanaged yet another situation. How many more angry owners do we need? Why can’t they be placated? Surely it can’t be that difficult?

That’s what bothers me. There’s no answers in sight either. And explanations and transparency? Forget about it.

There’s issues on both sides here and the sooner we get to the table to resolve them, the less instances of mutiny there will be.

Twice is one season is ridiculous.

I’ve called for it before and I’ll call for it again but the FFA must listen to the people who are pumping money into the game.

Unfortunately, those with the wallets don’t always make the best decisions (as happened again here), so we’re stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Not for the first time, not for the last time. It’s looks as though the game is headed to court once again, which is a tragedy in itself.

What am I sure about, however, is that we haven’t seen the last of the Newcastle Jets. They’ll be there next year - but only if the egos, on both sides, get checked at the door.