The Newcastle Jets revolution took another major step when the club announced it had delivered on its promise to return the club to the people.
The club has hosted the inaugural meeting of the Jets Football Advisory Board in which it formally handed over control of the club to the community and the football family of Newcastle, the Hunter and Northern NSW.
The meeting at Wickham effectively handed over the club’s on and off field direction to the advisory board.
Chaired by former Socceroo and football legend Ray Baartz, the board becomes the custodian of the Jets’ efforts to achieve excellence in the A-League, National Youth League, W-League and creating elite pathways for young players.
Baartz said the assembly of some of the region’s sharpest football minds meant the club was well placed to achieve its goals.
'Our job is to make sure the Jets continue to be a club we can all be proud of on and off the field," Baartz said.
'A big focus will be put on ensuring young boys and girls have opportunities to go on to play elite football for the Jets and W-League Jets teams.
'Northern NSW Football are already doing a great job in this area and we’re able to provide assistance there in ways that might not have been available in the past.
'Equally important to us is ensuring Jets home games stay affordable for families so that they can attend regularly."
Jets executive chairman Ken Edwards, who will sit on the board as the owner’s representative, said the formation of the football advisory board was a key vision of Jets owner Nathan Tinkler.
'Right from the start our charter has been to ensure the Jets are owned by the community and run for the community," Edwards said.
'The football advisory board is crucial to this vision.
'We have assembled a terrific group of people who are dedicated to working towards not only success at an elite level but creating opportunities and pathways at a grassroots level."
The board comprised Baartz, Edwards, Joe Senkalski, Jeffrey Green, Cheryl Salisbury, Neil Jameson and Keith Harris.
Senkalski, a former Socceroo, and Harris played in the region’s KB United National Soccer League side of the early 1980s, with Harris being involved in junior development and coaching for most of his career.
Jameson, a Newcastle Herald journalist, was crucial in the formation of the KB United club and mentored one of Australian football’s greats in Craig Johnston.
Salisbury is Australia’s greatest female player and the most capped Australian player of all time with 151 appearances for the Matildas.
Green, the president of Northern NSW Football, is the board’s permanent go-to link with the Jets’ grassroots football community.