Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Others Pay Dearly for Bad Calls at Top

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Others Pay Dearly for Bad Calls at Top

Article excerpt

ON THE day Newcastle Jets decided to punt Branko Culina as head coach, your scribbler just happened to be wandering about at a football tournament.

The FFA National Youth Championships at BCU International Stadium had been buzzing with rumours all morning that something big was up in the round ball game.

Eventually it was revealed all wasn't well in the Jets camp, aided and abetted by frequent ringing of mobile phones and certain personalities scurrying away to hide behind buildings and hold whispered conversations in private.

Then the news broke and while nobody has been saying much, the word is always going to be Branko copped the boot because of his son, Jason, who was ruled out for the season two weeks before with a chronic knee injury.

One can assume that in the search for a scapegoat to take the blame for a poor decision, Culina senior is an easy target, with the word anepotisma thrown around frequently.

It was something he must have known could happen at the club.

Let's look at the facts.

Gold Coast United made no bones about the fact that when the Jets arrived with a big quid to take injury-prone Jason off their hands, to use a media expression coined by the late Kerry Packer, they had just found their Alan Bond.

First, the Jets' board agreed to contract a 31-year-old a take notice of his age a for three seasons.

Reportedly, each season was worth an astronomical figure in excess of $800,000.

And while agreeing to that contract, the Jets' board had full knowledge that Jason's left knee made him suspect at best, with the second of two operations taking place in September.

So the decision was taken.

Ta-ta to Branko and Jason.

But the board, ultimately responsible for the fiasco, could wash its hands of the mess, like Pontius Pilate, and start planning the next intellectual masterpiece. …

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