Branko Culina named new Jets coach
The Newcastle Jets reacted swiftly to appoint Branko Culina as the A-League club's new coach on Tuesday before vowing not to back down from their fury at the controversial departure of Gary van Egmond.
Left coachless after van Egmond's shock resignation on Sunday to take up a role with the Australian Institute of Sport, the Jets began picking up the pieces with the appointment of former Sydney FC mentor Culina.
The experienced coach of almost 20 years said on Monday he would be reluctant to coach in Australia again after a "bitter" sacking from Sydney FC in the 2007/08 season .
But Newcastle said he was the right man for the top job after appointing him as technical director in February.
"I don't think there's too many more qualified coaches as Branko ... he is the ideal man," Jets chief executive John Tsatsimas said.
With Culina unable to the attend the announcement because he was flying to Europe for a pre-booked trip, the Jets took every opportunity to maintain the rage towards Football Federation Australia over van Egmond's departure, even hinting they were considering possible legal action.
The Jets have accused FFA and the AIS luring van Egmond to Canberra just five weeks out from the new season without consulting them, and Jets owner Con Constantine has threatened to walk away from the A-League unless he receives compensation.
While van Egmond's official employer will be the AIS, he was recruited for the new role by FFA executives and his salary will be augmented by the FFA.
"The part that leads us to disillusion ... is the role the FFA executives have played in relation to the hiring of Gary van Egmond," Tsatsimas said.
"That's a very sore point, particularly when it was documented that Gary had just signed a four-year deal (with the Jets).
"We feel betrayed, particularly in light of the fact that we have had conversations with these people in recent times and not a word in relation to what they were seeking was made."
FFA have said the Jets will be denied compensation and declined to make further comment on Constantine's threat on Tuesday other than telling AAP: "We note that Newcastle Jets now has a new coach".
But Tsatsimas hinted the Jets were considering legal action.
"What I will say is that we are very, very, very comfortable in terms of where we sit in relation to this legal matter," he said.
The chief executive also accused FFA of double standards.
"If we were to do something akin to what has occurred to us, we would have been sanctioned, fined, dragged through the coals and ridiculed," he said.
"We are not without sin, I will say that, but if the shoe was on the other foot, we'd cop it.
"... we are staunch in our position here and Con rightly feels slighted how he has been treated, how Newcastle Jets has been treated and the team has been treated."
Van Egmond broke his silence on Tuesday, claiming he followed FFA protocol when he resigned.
"I've just followed protocol as far as the FFA have asked me to do and I'll leave it in the hands of the FFA and obviously the Newcastle Jets and hopefully everything can be worked out," he said.
With Culina not due back from Europe for two weeks, and assistant Mark Jones away in Vietnam, football operations manager Craig Deans will fill in when the Jets players begin training on Monday after a short break following their Asian Champions League exit.