Carney lifts the lid on last tumultuous days of Newcastle Jets

Former Socceroo David Carney has lifted the lid on the last tumultuous days of the Newcastle Jets under failed coal baron Nathan Tinkler.

Blocked from transferring to Sydney FC, shafted by coach Phil Stubbins and shamed in the media – Carney pulls no punches.

The World Cup veteran’s story on the months prior to the Jets being stripped of their licence appears in next month’s bumper FourFourTwo in a feature on his long football career that saw his travel the world.

Here is a sneak preview of what he told KAT CARAVELLA:

Four months after his so-called dismissal by the Newcastle Jets, David Carney remains dumbfounded.

“We settled really quickly in Newcastle, we saw ourselves here for the long-haul”, he told FourFourTwo mag.

“We bought a house and really just wanted to settle – I had this great feeling about the Jets after we finished so strongly the year before.”


Indeed, Carney’s relationship with the Jets started brightly.

After years abroad he first set his sights on making a return to Sydney FC – the club where it all kicked off for him in the A-League.

But salary cap challenges at the Sky Blues led the 31-year-old up the F3 and he signed for the Jets in the 2014 January transfer window.

Initially it was a three-month plan, Carney said, but he fell “in love with the place almost immediately”.

And a strong finish to the 2013/14 season under interim coach, Clayton Zane, convinced the former Everton youth player he was in the right place.

When Phil Stubbins was brought in to take over the coaching reins, Season 10 looked like being a big year for the Hunter outfit.

But results told a different story as the club limped over the finish line in last place.

A rumoured player revolt following a 7-1 drubbing against Adelaide in mid-season led to Carney – along with four other players and three coaches – being sensationally 'sacked' by Stubbins and Tinkler.

The football community was left reeling but Carney said there were red lights flashing before the axe fell on the players including club great Joel Griffiths.


“There were things going on behind the scenes that just weren’t right,” Carney said.

“And there was so much said about certain players to the media – things like we deliberately went out there to lose – which really disappointed us.

“We are professionals – we would never sabotage our team.”

What Carney found most galling was that just two weeks prior to his public execution, he was refused a transfer to Sydney FC.

He added: “Phil gathered the team around and told everyone I wasn’t going anywhere.

“If he didn’t want me then – I wish he’d let me go.”

Carney said part of him didn’t want to leave Newcastle even when Graham Arnold’s offer initially arose.

“I had just bought my house, I was playing every week, I thought I was in good form,” he said. “I wanted to help turn things around for the Jets.

“And truthfully, when Phil Stubbins told the team he wanted me, I wanted to make it work. No one wants to be losing.”

Carney has been around long enough to know sackings happen every day in football - but what the Jets dished up to their experienced players was a low water mark.


“In a certain way, the sacked players were ridiculed,” he recalled, citing various interviews Stubbins and Tinkler gave to mainstream media.

In one article, Stubbins said senior players on “decent coin” provided “no value for money for the club”.

In another, Tinkler likened them to children, saying: “I have simply told Phil to make a little naughty corner at training and give them a sandpit and a little ladder, or something, to play on over in the corner of the ground. They can come to training and play over there.”

Remarkably, prior to Tinkler being stripped of his A-League licence on Wednesday by Football Federation Australia, Carney was still willing to address issues with management.

Despite efforts to offload him, Carney remained a contracted player with no settlement reached.

“I have a responsibility to do my best on the park”, he says. “Fans are paying for memberships, they pay to go to away games (and) they emotionally invest themselves in this club.

“I know I have more to give, I know I can be important to this club. The fans have been put through the wringer in all this.

“I’m big enough to put things aside if the same respect is shown back.”

FFA has assured fans that Newcastle will continue to have a club in the A-League.

A new licence will be issued to a new entity, owned and controlled by FFA, with current players of the Jets offered new contract. Stubbins has already indicated he wants to stay with Newcastle.

But even before this week’s upheaval, Carney was talking radical change.

“We need a new culture – without a doubt,” he said. “We need people from the top down that are passionate about the game – that only want the best for the game.

“Only then, will Newcastle see some success. I hope to be a part of that”.