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Newcastle saved by new owners and future looks bright despite rumours the A-Leagues are dead

The A-League world shared a collective sigh of relief with the news on Tuesday that the Newcastle Jets had finally been bought and are now also certain to compete in the 2024/25 A-League competition.

Maverick Sports Partners has invested in the club, effectively taking the reins from a group of rival A-League clubs that had been bankrolling what appeared a sinking ship since 2021.

There are a few signatures, dots and dashes required before the deal is final and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) ticks off the sale, yet Jets fan can almost certainly rejoice, after what threatened to be a final period of pain.

The ultimate demise of a club that has been there since the start of the A-League era was not only on the cards but seemingly unavoidable without significant financial investment and whilst the details of the numbers involved are sketchy, the man at the arrowhead of the new consortium has some serious form when it comes to dealing with A-league clubs.

Mark Bisetto was the former CEO of Western United and an important player in the establishment of the expansion club. He is also a Director of Maverick Sports Partners and appears to hold restorative hope for the Hunter-based club, similar to the aspirations the founders of Western United had when bringing the new team into the league in 2019/20.

“We believe in this club, the A-League and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” he said.

One wonders what he knows that we, the fans, don’t. The general consensus appears to be that the A-Leagues are on their knees and aside from some extra capital being drummed up by significant sales of players to overseas clubs, destined to fall on their swords in the short to medium term.

Perhaps reports of the death of the competitions have been somewhat premature, with record transfer payments coming back the way of the clubs this year; most of whom now appearing to grasp the importance of Australian domestic football surviving on the back of development and subsequent sales.

Whilst the losses of players like Nestory Irankunda, Alex Paulsen and Jake Girdwood-Reich remove quality from the local competition, it also shows that the current production line of talent coming through the A-League academies and beyond is capable of filling the voids and providing a new school of talent.

With scores of future and current Socceroos abroad and off the back of a noticeable performance at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the world took note of Graham Arnold’s gutsy and talented team, the value of an A-League player appears to have been noticed.

The amount A-League clubs can receive in payment from those suitors has increased and despite the clubs reportedly about to receive a lower level of financial support from the APL for the upcoming season, the deals done and potential ones in the future, might go some way towards making up the shortfall.

Ryan Scott of Newcastle Jets reacts after making a save. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

If such a scenario was not the case, why on earth would Maverick invest in a Jets organisation that has been nothing but a sinking ship for an extended period?

Ever since the grand final loss to the Victory in May of 2018, when McDonald Jones Stadium heaved in anticipation of a second championship for the club, Newcastle Jets have been in decline.

Maverick Sports Partners now looms as a potential saviour, despite many voices being certain to be cynical as to whether a newly founded consortium can rustle up the money, people and resources required to ‘sell’ the club back to the fans.

Early success is the means by which that can occur; to bring people back who have slowly but surely walked away in recent seasons, convinced that the end was nigh.

Losing the Jets would have been terrible optics for the A-Leagues. Instead, the hopeful acquisition presents a bucking of the trend in terms of the broadly held views that the leagues are in serious financial trouble and headed for oblivion.

Perhaps there are some rodents and invasive ants within media circles, hell-bent on bringing down the A-Leagues and keeping football in its place. In fact, I know there are.

Yet the impressive signings currently being made by A-League clubs for season 2024/25 and the new investment in the Jets, suggests that the people with the bottom line at hand, might be a little more positive than a few shock jocks in the media who appeared hopeful that the leagues might be well and truly killed off for good.

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