Jets fans waiting for proof SUPPORT: Jets fans at a home game against Melbourne City in December 2015. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TweetFacebook Jets fansThe Newcastle Jets appear in a better position on and off the park than they were 12 months ago, but some of the club’s fans are waiting for proof before committing to season tickets.
Chief executive Lawrie McKinna said on Friday that the club wason track to have a similar number of members as last season.
The Jets had 8703 members last season, the sixth most in the league, when they finished with the wooden spoon. They had9266 in 2015-16and 10,003 the year before.
The clubhad sold 7181 2017-18 memberships by Friday afternoon, eight days before kicking off the season against derby rivals Central Coast at Gosford.
“It’s definitely picked up, the season coming closer. There’s a lot more members coming in picking up stuff,” McKinna said.
“The TV and radio campaign’s out there as well.
“I would say after the first game, if you go away and get that first victory, you’re going to get another pick-up as well.
“It will be similar numbers [to last year]. I don’t think it will be any more.
“A lot of members who haven’t been members for quite a few years have joined, which is quite refreshing.”
Newcastle have trial wins over champions Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Wellington under their belts, but coach Ernie Merrick has stressed that pre-season form counts for little.
McKinna said the club was more stable than it was a year ago, when owner Martin Lee took over in June then sacked coach Scott Miller in early September.
“Last year obviously we’d taken over the club and then the Scott Miller situation happened maybe a month out from the season, and that just backed up, and everyone said, ‘Oh, here we go again.’
“This season, touch wood, on the park has been good, off the park has been good.
“Sponsorship-wise we’re tracking OK, membership we’re tracking OK.
“We’ve invested more in the squad,brought in a real marquee player. So things are going along a lot more settled than it was last pre-season.”
Fans will get their first look at marquee midfielder Ronald Vargas in action when he takes part in an intraclub trial game as part of the club’s member season launch at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday morning.
The launch starts at 9am, and the A-League squad will take to the pitch from about 10.30for a game refereed by Merrick.
The Jets have one vacancy on their roster for a Chinese import, but McKinna said that spot was likely to be filled by a young Chinese development player.
“If we can’t get the right kind of player, we might get a youngplayer. He’ll be part of the squad, he’ll be on a full contract, but he’ll be here to learn, to get better.
“He wouldn’t be expected to play in the first team.”