Newcastle Jets have axed coach Gary van Egmond after the club's dismal start to the season, the Hunter side confirmed officially this morning.
Current National Youth League coach and former Socceroo Clayton Zane has been appointed as interim head coach while Craig Deans will remain as an assistant coach and also take on the role of National Youth League coach for the remainder of the season.
The announcement follows Newcastle Jets taking four points from the last 18 available in the Hyundai A-League competition.
"After not qualifying for the A-League Finals Series for the last three years, this is a vitally important season for the club and both parties, the club and Gary agree team requires a new voice and direction to take us forward,” Jets CEO Robbie Middleby said.
“Gary has made a significant and lasting contribution to the Jets, winning a Championship in his first term as manager and now, helping to put together a squad of some of the best emerging talent in Australia."
The announcement also coincides with the advertisement of the Emerging Jets Technical Director position, a role jointly funded by the Jets, FFA and Northern NSW Football, which will oversee the technical development and coaching of the Emerging Jets Program.
“The Emerging Jets Program is the benchmark for elite player development in Australia and a critical initiative for the future of our Club,” Middleby said.
“Enhancing the quality of coaching provided to elite young players in this program is paramount and this is why the Club is recommending that Gary applies and is strongly considered for this position.
“From his time at the AIS, Gary has always had a passion and talent for youth development and we believe he would help the Emerging Jets Program take a major step forward.”
Zane, a Hunter product who made 70 appearances for the Newcastle Breakers in the old National Soccer League, is in his third season in the Newcastle Jets’ coaching set-up.
The 14-time Socceroo initially served as head coach of the Jets W-League team and has been in charge of Newcastle’s National Youth League (NYL) side for the past two seasons.
"In Clayton, we have an ex-Socceroo who has played at a high level in Europe and is a talented young coach,” Middleby said.
“Our youth team is currently enjoying its best season to date in the NYL, sitting in second in the competition.
“We have confidence that Clayton will bring a new perspective to take the team forward this year and battle for Finals qualification."
The Jets will commence the process to identify and appoint a new head coach in the coming weeks.