Jets shrug off Tinkler turmoil ahead of derby

Newcastle Jets players are putting aside ongoing worries over the club’s ownership as they head into the opening clash of the new A-League season against F3 rivals Central Coast Mariners.

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Struggling former mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler has been liquidating his assets since a massive downturn in his fortunes, which has already cost him NRL-side Newcastle Knights and his prized horse-racing stable.

He has also been trying to sell the Jets for months but without any success so far.

Tinkler is understood to be keen to sell quickly and has been buoyed by the sale of Melbourne Heart to create Melbourne City, and the recent sale of Western Sydney Wanderers, both fetching $10-12 million each.

Tinkler paid $5 million for the Jets’ A-League licence when he took over from previous owner Con Constantine in 2010 and is understood to be keen to recoup his cash plus a profit when he sells.

The recent shares sale by one of Melbourne Victory’s part owners - which valued the club at around $30 million - is believed to have further increased Tinkler’s hopes of a big dividend from the sale.

But while there is said to be serious interest in the club from overseas, the former Hunter-bred billionaire - now living mainly in Singapore - is eager to do a deal soon… and the prospective buyers want to take their time.

The deals for City and Wanderers took a year to put together before they were finalised, but Tinkler is understood to want to rush a Jets sale through immediately.

He is understood to be adamant he will not just walk away from the Jets and abandon his licence while he feels there is a significant value to be had from its sale.

“We are talking to a number of English and European soccer clubs about getting involved and have been for a little while,” Tinkler said in August.

“I think for anybody who owns an A-League club, or supports an A-League club, (overseas ownership) is the future.

“We’ve got a lot of soccer talent in this country and that is the best agreement. What it costs to run an A-League club is really just a (player) transfer fee for these guys.”

But in the uncertainty between Tinkler’s desire for a quick sale and a buyer being found and the sale concluding, the club has been left in limbo.

Yesterday though players insisted they were ignoring the issue and focusing on the season ahead.

“The players have got a job and it’s probably a good thing that the games are coming up now so it keeps our minds off it so we can just concentrate on the football,” said Jets winger David Carney after training.

“Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.”

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