Newly appointed Newcastle Jets head coach Phil Stubbins wants to raise the bar at the club and is looking forward to taking on his former employers Adelaide United next season.
Stubbins, who spent five years as an assistant coach at the Reds and time coaching in the Victorian Premier League, was appointed as Jets boss in May.
The 51-year old spent several seasons coaching in Thailand before returning to Australia but has kept a close watch on the A-League.
“I’ve never really taken my eye off the competition,” Stubbins admitted.
“I think to look at it now it’s really grown in stature. The package of the game now is a real fantastic spectacle to watch on the TV and also when you go to the games.
“With the inclusion of Western Sydney Wanderers coming into the competition they’ve been a real breath of fresh air, they’ve done fantastically well, everyone associated with the club as well as Tony Popovic need congratulating for it there.
“For the Jets it gives us something to aspire to. We’ve got 10,000 paid up members, we’ve got a fantastic stadium and we’re going to do all we can to service the needs of those supporters, and to try and get some full houses on occasions.
“The A-League’s grown, the standard of the competition’s picked up, and in accordance with that we need to step up to the plate and make sure we’re ready for the rigorous contest in the coming campaign.”
Stubbins enjoyed a successful stint at Hindmarsh Stadium, helping the Reds reach the Asian Champions League final in 2008 and the A-League grand final in 2009, and will savour his return to the state with his new club.
“Adelaide got themselves into the finals [last season] so any team that gets themselves into a position where they can challenge for the title, they’ve done well,” Stubbins said.
“I think potentially they’ll be really looking to kick on next year. They’ve obviously got a terrific squad there and the brand of football they play has been documented that it’s pleasing on the eye and everything else. I think they’ll move forward with that.
“It’s my home city so you’ve always got a bit of an eye on what they’re doing. In saying that it’ll be a contest that I myself will want to win and certainly the Newcastle Jets will want to win.”
In Thailand Stubbins coached Bangkok Glass and Ayutthaya, served as the technical director of Police United, and won several Coach of the Month awards. He believes Australia can learn a lot from the Thai Premier League.
“It’s been a great experience for myself,” Stubbins said.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to learn and nurture my own coaching and management skills. It’s certainly a very different landscape to not only coaching but surviving. A lot of coaches that have gone over there have found it very, very difficult and not lasted very long in their tenure as a coach.
“I’m pretty proud of sticking out there for as long as I did. I think the standard of the game over there from a technical point of view is very, very good and they’ve got some terrific crowds over there and a hell of a lot of football played.
"You play over 40, 45 games a year and there’s a lot of good things you can pick up from Thai football.
“It’s been an enjoyable experience but certainly to get the opportunity to come back to the A-League and be with the Newcastle Jets is a very proud feeling and one I’m certainly looking forward to.”comments