NEWCASTLE Jets officials believe they are on track to post record membership numbers in the coming A-League season.
The Jets, after drawing a crowd of 29,410 to McDonald Jones Stadium for their 2017-18 grand final loss to Melbourne Victory, started last season with 9000 members, a figure that grew to a club-high 11,700 before the end of their campaign.
Even after slipping last season to finish seventh, five points adrift of the play-offs, it appears their fans are sticking staunchly behind them.
"We had 9000 members last season for our first home game [against Victory in round three]," Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna told the Newcastle Herald.
"At the moment, we're very close to 9000, and we're hoping that by next week, we'll maybe go past that. So we're probably a month or so ahead of where we were last year, which is great.
"And during the season we grew that number by another 2700, which took us past the previous record, from when [Nathan] Tinkler had the club. We gained a lot of members during the season.
"So we're reasonably happy with where we're at, because last season was an OK season, but it wasn't great."
McKinna said an extended run in the FFA Cup tournament would only help Newcastle's cause. The Jets play Adelaide in a quarter-final next week and, if successful, could potentially host a semi-final and ultimately the final, the venues for which are drawn out of a hat.
"Obviously if we can keep winning in the FFA Cup, it will give everything a kick-along," McKinna said.
"If we can win in Adelaide and get a home semi, that would be huge. If we make it to the final and host it, that would be massive for the town. Just think about how big it was when we hosted the [A-League] grand final."
McKinna predicted an FFA Cup final in Newcastle would break the record attendance of 18,751 when Melbourne City beat Sydney 1-0 at AAMI Park in 2016.
If Jets fans were disappointed with last season's results, they appear to have been encouraged by the club's recruitment drive.
After signing Panamanian striker Abdiel Arroyo, Irish veteran Wes Hoolahan and Nick Fitzgerald and Matt Millar from rival clubs, Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick declared this season's squad is the strongest he has assembled at the club.
Irish defender Bobby Burns is also tipped to sign in coming weeks.
"Arroyo is looking good," McKinna said.
"There might have been a few doubts about Wes Hoolahan's age, but I think he's already proven in our games why the Norwich fans called him 'the Irish Messi'.
"Nick Fitzgerald and Matt Millar have fitted in well, so I think we've recruited well. The squad is looking strong."
McKinna revealed that there had been tentative talks with overseas investors about taking up a shareholding in the club to ease the financial burden on Jets owner Martin Lee.
"There's been a lot of people interested, but nothing concrete," McKinna said.
"It's been mostly consortiums from overseas.
"The people that we've spoken to have been interested taking up a shareholding. Some of them were talking about a majority share. But so far it's come to nothing."