Jets fans want Stubbins out

Newcastle Jets fans have called for the head of coach Phil Stubbins after Football Federation Australia terminated the club’s licence this week.

Former coal baron and club owner Nathan Tinkler was ousted by FFA with the governing body vowing a new A-League club for Hunter fans.

Supporter group, The Squadron, believes a partial community ownership model is the way forward but says there is no place for Stubbins at the helm.

“His position is untenable,” group president Grant Furner told FourFourTwo.

“He hasn’t shown that he has any idea of how to get the club performing on the park despite effectively having two teams over the course of the season.

“The results didn’t change when he brought in the players he wanted, so I don’t see the point in giving him the off-season to rebuild the player roster yet again, especially when he has treated so many players so badly in getting rid of them in the middle and then again at the end of the season.”

The club limped to the end of the 2014-15 campaign in last place and suffered a de-stabilising clear-out of staff and senior players during the season.

Furner said the one-owner model had failed the club and the league.

“I think a partial ownership model is the way forward for all A-League clubs eventually,” Furner added.

“There is no better way to engage your community and have them feel a part of the club by actually getting them involved in it.

“Now, obviously we aren’t Spain or Germany so total or even majority ownerships of clubs by fans isn’t something that’s realistic or affordable.

“However, looking at the ownership of Swansea City in the English Premier League where the supporters trust owns 20% of the club is a good place to start.

“This will ensure that the right owners come into the league because they will have to deal with the trust to ensure smooth running of the club, the supporters' interests are serviced and accounted for, and the club isn’t just a vanity project for a rich owner who loses interest a few years down the track.

“I believe it’s possible, and that it will work. It will take time to work out the best way forward for it to work, but the benefits are obvious.”

Furner described the 2014-2015 season for the Jets as one that “felt like a long slow existence in purgatory with the club doing nothing but going through the motions”.

“It was quite clear that despite protestations to the contrary up to only a few weeks ago, Nathan had finally run out of money,” he said.

“The supporter base had guessed this already and weren’t buying the PR offensive the club was selling, that Nathan was finally interested in the fortunes of a club he has owned for over four years and was in it for the long haul.

“This was clear with the slow decline in recent seasons in the number of paid memberships even though they remarkably stayed above approximately 10,000.

“Attendances also started to decline steadily over the past two seasons, which accelerated after the mass sackings earlier this season.

“A lot of the supporters were put offside with the way players and staff were treated by the club and coach. The final home games of the season were pretty toxic after the full-time whistle went.

“Overall sentiment appeared to be that a majority of supporters were certainly not going to renew their memberships for the upcoming season if things remained as they are. The majority of Jets supporters had finally had enough.

“They don’t feel a part of their club anymore, and that anything the club said was complete bollocks. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get those supporters back onside.

“Having said that however, the news regarding the termination of (Tinkler’s) Hunter Sports Group’s ownership has been overwhelmingly positive on social media. It appears that people want things to get better but at the same time will be wary and wait to see what eventuates.”

Furner said there is plenty of blame to be shared for the club’s demise.

“I am firmly of the opinion that the FFA need to accept some level of responsibility because of their insistence that the single-owner model of clubs is a good idea, especially with no safeguards,” he said.

“Partial community ownership needs to be at least a medium-term goal for top-flight clubs (but) nothing was mentioned about this in the Whole of Football plan recently launched.”