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Arthur Pappas showing how to recruit in a small market

The Newcastle Jets are a rollercoaster of a football club, going from being threatened to be kicked out of the A-League to making deep finals runs.

The Jets are both a sleeping giant and wounded minnow awaiting their final burial, making the success of Arthur Pappas in his short career at Newcastle nothing short of miraculous.

With a shoestring budget and a few more adjustments, Pappas has Newcastle ready to be a top-six team.

The singings of Beka Mikeltadze and Daniel Penha in the season just gone are evidence of Pappas’ knowledge and scouting reach. Mikeltadze was the league’s joint-second goal scorer, with 13, while the fiery Penha established himself as a player the streets of Lambton won’t forget anytime soon.

Pappas’ first year in charge could be considered a great success from a recruitment standpoint, even if there was no finals football.

Pappas has gone an ambitious step further with the signings of Socceroo Brandon O’Neill, Wellington star Reno Piscopo and dynamic wing duo of Trent Buhagiar and Jaushua Sotirio, who all have finals experience.

The addition of Carl Jenkinson looks to be a good move, considering his late-season form at Melbourne City and the Jets’ leaky defence, and the rise of young Angus Thurgate is exciting.

While these signings don’t scream finals football, attracting talented players is a credit to Pappas’ footballing philosophy. His approach to football management isn’t underdone, with his time under Ange Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos having a considerable effect.

He has experienced relegation dog fights with Ettifaq FC in Saudi Arabia, FFA Cup glory with Green Gully SC, and miraculous half-season turn arounds with Oakleigh Cannons. His coaching experience at only 42 is years beyond any current A-League coach at his age.

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Are the Jets going to be playing finals football? Probably not. However, if Arthur Pappas and his support staff remain in Newcastle into 2023, the city’s long and drawn-out may edge closer to completion.

Pappas’ recruitment strategy thus far has given fans little to complain about and with another season under his belt, with the Jets playing some dynamic, fluid football, the Novocastrians may dare to dream.

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