For the good of the game

Now would be a good time for the FFA and Hunter Sports Group to be self critical and resolve their differences.

The A-League is a huge bubble which is in real danger of bursting. A combination of a lucrative new TV deal, fans streaming through the turnstiles, financial discipline and more freedom with sponsorship are the only ways of keeping the league alive.

Fact is, without Nathan Tinkler the Newcastle Jets might have been gone already…..that or the FFA propping them up for the last 18 months.

When Tinkler walked in to take over the Jets it was a ‘Take your hat off to the man- moment. Tinkler saved the Jets and gave a city and a whole region hope for the future - the Jets were now in safe hands for the next 10 years.

The problem is... getting through the financial pain barrier. The A-League is still a money losing business and all the owners feel the pain - especially in the long off-season. No games, but bills still need to be paid.

Some may think it will eventually be a money making business. Many factors are involved in the league being successful on and off the park, but key is and always will be a positive TV deal.

The Jason Culina situation was unfortunate for all parties involved. One thing that the drastic decisions by Tinkler mirrored in that situation is that he is a man that won-t take failure lightly. If the whispers back then of ‘How smart were Gold Coast United to let Culina go- had got back to Tinkler then his reaction to all of a sudden sack Branko and attempt to ‘Set aside- Jason-s contract was more about protecting personal pride.

Tinkler has made a mistake by trying to pull the plug on the Jets though. And the players, staff and fans at the club are the ones who will feel the weight of this decision.

He made a commitment on many fronts, but the biggest and most important commitment was to the fans. He of course made one to the players, coaches and staff at the club as well, but it-s the fans who are there for the long haul and are the real lifeblood of any club.

Tinkler-s rash decision will damage the club, but also damage his own reputation - one that was viewed upon as so positive when he commited to the Jets.

Tinkler feels aggrieved and in some instances rightfully so, but ultimately he has to focus on why it has come to this.

When he signaled interest in taking over the Jets, he was the one that was in a strong position to negotiate with the FFA. The FFA were in a position of weakness with the ongoing problems at the Jets.

FFA needed him a hell of a lot more than he needed them. It seems the Hunter Sports Group have made errors in judgement with negotiations and research. Now Tinkler should stick by a proud football club, community, city and region.

What is undeniable is that the negotiation skills of many A-League clubs- management since the league started in 2005 has left a lot to be desired. Burning cash has been on the agenda. Needlessly handing out long-term contracts. Signing average foreign players on big wages. Some marquee players on way too much money. Foreign coaches on big wages. Too much, too soon.

The A-League is not built or ready for some of the amounts that have been paid to some players and coaches, who on many occasions have offered little in return. It should be about guaranteeing the viability of a club and competition as well as guaranteeing a league for our youngsters to keep playing in down the track.

All we hear now is constant deflecting of blame about past and present events.

FFA made mistakes in going to Townsville and Gold Coast in the first place. It was too much too soon, with both cities far from being round ball fanatical or ready to support an A-League club, but they gave two clubs who wanted football teams a chance, did those clubs take that chance and make it work?

No, far from it, then the blame game started and is still going on. Being self critical is hugely important. Without it you will never better yourself.

Now would be a good time for the FFA and Hunter Sports Group to be self critical and resolve differences for the benefit of the Newcastle Jets and for the good of the game in Australia.