There's a couple of issues I want to discuss following this weekend just played. I'm going to get into this very fast and try and get this article done in quick time. Firstly, promotion, it's what teams aim for right? Going up a grade shows that you're a good side, arguably the best in the competition.
I know I've been outspoken in the way I've addressed some of the things Northern NSW Football do but one thing that they got right was promotion this season. Bringing Wallsend, Kahibah and Cooks Hill up to the New-FM 1st Division has been one of the best moves in recent memory for premier football in Newcastle.
All three sides have produced quality efforts across the four New-FM grades and all three have proven that they belong in this division. I was one of many who were a bit hesitant going into this season but I've been impressed with the effort and commitment of the three promoted sides.
I'll admit that I knew nothing about the New-FM competition going into this season but I've grown to enjoy it perhaps more than the top grade. New-FM is a severely underrated competition (especially in the lower grades) and that's why this site does so much work to promote the second-tier of Newcastle football.
I put up a survey earlier asking why people visit my site, what competition is the one they come on Newysports to read about. 62% voted for the New-FM 1st Division, 17% for Zone League and 15% for NPL. A few people also voted for the NPL Youth and a few people voted for all four competitions together.
The point I'm making is that there is demand for New-FM 1st Division content and that's why they keep coming back to Newysports. I'm proud of the New-FM competition and delighted to be regarded so highly by players, officials and clubs for the work I've done. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Anyway back on topic, this weekend I heard two rumours. One was that Beresfield United, runaway minor premiers for the Zone Premier League would be entering the New-FM 1st Division next season. Now let me say, any extra team would be welcome by myself as I hate the bye. I'd much rather see two extra games get played for each side.
The issues though are that Beresfield's ground is not regarded very well among other Zone players and officials. Sorry Eagles but this is facts talking. They say the field isn't wide enough and the pitch isn't up to standard. I've never been to Pasadena Crescent but looking at photos, it doesn't exactly replicate Wembley to say the very least. That doesn't mean work can't be done to fix the issues.
The other issue is if Beresfield United could produce enough players to fill 1sts, 23's, 19's and 17's. I know for a fact that they have no juniors and nearby Beresfield F.C aren't the biggest club around so recruitment would be needed and with New-FM side Thornton already bringing in players from that area, it could be a tough ask.
Beresfield have got some smart minds on board and with the players they've got, they'll ace it home in the Zone Premier League and it's exactly what they've done all season. I'm not saying Beresfield in New-FM isn't impossible but I for one cannot see it happening as soon as next season.
I also heard whispers that Northern NSW Football want another Macquarie Football side to play in the premier competitions and that Zone League One leaders Morrisset United are being considered as an option to come up to the New-FM. Let me say right now, that cannot happen next season, field requirements, players, staff, I don't care. The fact is, a team cannot go from the fourth-tier to the second-tier without winning the third-tier. Simple!
Morisset United aren't ready for the jump up in quality to be quiet honest. And the comment I heard about Northern wanting more Macquarie teams is simply absurd. As if building their brand new headquarters in the heartland of Macquarie Football wasn't enough. Lakes, Valentine, Toronto and Belswans are all doing a great job of representing that region.
Anyway, enough about that, my other beef is with the Newcastle Jets Youth team, not the players, but the admin and the staff. I've heard absolutely awful things about what was said by a certain former coach in the Darling St. changerooms during the half-time break.
The young Jets (a few of them just 16/17) were apparently blasted that loudly it could be heard from outside. It's not good enough. I hate writing negative articles but seriously it's not good enough. Losing 7-0 isn't good enough. Not taking the competition seriously isn't good enough.
I hate the Jets Youth system. I know it's a requirement of the FFA that the team plays in the state league but personally I find it completely useless. They can't play finals, they can't be relegated, what's the point? Development right? Is development losing 7-0? Is development yelling abuse at 16 and 17 year olds because they can't perform after being chucked in the deep end against one of the region's best NPL sides? Tell me what development is!
What about the Emerging Jets? Good bunch of kids don't get me wrong but forcing parents to pay extra cash and commute to Speers Point just so their kid can be supposedly better than a player at a community-based NPL club. Is that the whole point of it.
A quick look at the tables would show you that the Emerging Jets aren't finding the amount of success that they should be. I'm not blasting the players, I'm blasting the coaches. I've heard of the attitude at the Emerging Jets and it's simply not good enough. The teams that keep travelling overseas (on the back of parent's hard-earned cash) keep failing in tournaments.
Our region's best youngsters historically fail to match it with Football NSW, Football Victoria, you name it. The job that's being done isn't good enough and with guys like Gary Van Egmond running the show, it's not a surprise at all. Could I do a better job, probably not, but a lot of people could. Parents are starting to realize that the Emerging Jets isn't the be all, end all of elite junior football in this region.
Do you think the Emerging Jets could match it with Sydney Olympic's junior sides, no way! That's because the professionalism down there blows our system out of the water. Our best youngsters are the ones who are plying their trade in the NPL Youth, not rich enough to afford playing for the Emerging Jets.
Look at the actual A-League Jets for a moment. Do they pick out youngsters from our local area...no! They go and grab players from the Sydney comp, from the Melbourne comp. Our region needs to step up in junior coaching and it all starts with making the coaching courses more accessible and cheaper.
Anyway, I'm sick of ranting. Honestly, it's not good for the mind. I want to see our region step up. I want to see our youngsters kick the proverbial backsides of those from Sydney and Melbourne and I want to see Northern NSW return to being the footballing powerhouse it once was. When was the last time we produced a quality Socceroo (note, Robbie Middleby doesn't count.)
Once upon a time, this region hosted Manchester United and various other travelling international teams. This region produced Craig Johnston and surely it's only a matter of time that another player of that quality pops up. There's so much potential in Northern NSW, it just needs to be found.