Jets off the market as Tinkler takes over as chairman

Nathan Tinkler will adopt a more hands-on approach at Newcastle Jets (AAP)

Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler has taken the struggling A-League club off the market and assumed the mantle of chairman in a stunning about-face which he insists will seal the long-term future of the franchise.

Less than 24 hours after the resignations of CEO Robbie Middleby and chairman Ray Baartz, the Singapore-based minerals tycoon pledged to take a "hands-on role" for the first time in his four years at the helm.

And his first order of business was to back embattled coach Phil Stubbins, announce the prospect of January transfer window signings and insist that discussions on extending player contracts would be forthcoming as he seeks to revive the club which sits second bottom with one win in 14 games.

Tinkler will also oversee the appointment of a new CEO in the coming weeks.

"As of today I have decided to become chairman of the club," revealed Tinkler. "I've never had any real influential control over the club before, despite what's been reported.

"I always followed whatever guidance was recommended to me - and the people that gave me that advice were passionate about the club and were trying to do the right thing.

"Who's to say that in three or four years time I may look a fool for decisions I am yet to make (as chairman). But I am prepared to take on that role.

"I believe in the A-League long-term. Soccer has a special place in hearts of many Australians and we have a pretty good soccer history in Newcastle.

"We need to get back to proving we are a winning club and we are in the market during the window for possibly a couple of players."

Confirming that the 'for sale' signs were now being torn down, Tinkler explained: "There were interested parties out there previously (Scottish outfit Dundee United was one). The process went on for about six months but as our performances on the field fizzled, so did the offers."

While admitting that Stubbins's record thus far is not inspiring, Tinkler gave the Englishman his endorsement, declaring: "I know less about soccer than I do about men and as a man Phil impresses me.

"He is a gentleman first and foremost and I think he is a winner and I like that.

"I also like people who can admit where they need help in certain areas. He's a realistic guy and will admit he's had a really bad start to the season

"But that hasn't been helped by our more high-profile recruits to the club having injuries and being left watching in the stands.

"Since Phil was appointed I have come to really enjoy the game. He's the first coach who has sought me out to tell me what he is doing, what needs to be fixed, who's playing well and the like.

"I've never been close to that side of things before but Phil basically said 'it's your money we are spending and I'd rather report to you directly. You take all the flak in the press when things go bad, so you might as will be involved and accept it'."

The ex-owner of the NRL outfit Newcastle Knights added: "Being involved in soccer, I enjoy waking on Monday mornings not having to worry about who my players have beaten up and who has been done for DUI or whatever. In a corporate sense it's a lot better to be involved in soccer than rugby league."

Despite talk of the FFA seeking clarification on the Jets' viability, Tinkler announced: "I have always had the support of the FFA.

"They have never seen anybody put money into soccer the way I have and despite all the press to contrary they do appreciate that I am a beyond loyal supporter of sport in the Hunter region and I know they are happy to have my direct involvement in the future."

With 15 players coming off contract this season, Tinkler added: "I didn't want there to be any uncertainty about the club's future anymore and to give any of them any excuse not to be performing on the paddock.

"It's my intention now to remove any potential distractions. We have guys playing for contracts and we are more than willing to look at extending those based on what they do in the second half of the season."

Tinkler paid tribute to Newcastle stalwarts Middleby and Baartz, who had quit in frustration at what they saw as a state of inertia gripping the club.

"It came as a bit of shock to me," he said. "They are passionate football supporters who love the town, and their backing has been wonderful over the last four years.

"But, unfortunately for these guys a lot of the decisions they made over the years haven't come off. You recruit the best people you think at the time and it may, or may not work.

"But they had to courage to live by their decisions and they have died by their decisions and full credit to them. They have my full respect but the club must move on."

Tinkler admitted that his knowledge of football was scant when he bought the Jets licence for $5 million in 2010 but said he has grown to 'love the game', explaining: "I took on the Jets as a bit of courtesy and charity towards my community on the Hunter but now is the time where I feel I can put my hands on the wheel and appreciate the game, the people involved and what is required."

On the scathing criticism he has faced over his ill-fated tenure of the Knights and also his involvement with the Jets, Tinkler - who has pumped over $10 million into the club, reflected: "I didn't know that worst thing you could do was put your own personal money into supporting your own community.

"But in Australia, apparently it is. It is what it is but for the first time, as of today, I have taken control of matters.

"Now they can really fire their bullets at me and blame me if things don't work out. I am putting my hand up.

"I still believe in Newcastle as a strong sporting base for Australia and I am here to support that."

Source: SBS