LIKE many other Jets supporters I was horrified to hear of the sacking of our Jets' great coach, Ernie Merrick on Monday effective immediately ('Crashing Jets sack Merrick', Newcastle Herald 7/1).
In his short stint as Jets owner Martin Lee has now sacked several coaches, the first being Scott Miller. Private ownership has again, in my opinion, been a disaster for the Newcastle Jets. After Con Constantine started to feel the pinch, the Jets went from premiers in 2008 to the tail of the field the following year.
Next came billionaire Nathan Tinkler, who bought the Knights and the Jets. When his fortunes began to dwindle, so did the fortunes of the Jets.
A group of local sporting enthusiasts started to put together a community ownership model when Tinkler lost the licence, but the FFA took the easy option and sold it to Mr Lee for a reported $5 million. Initially this seemed like a good move with the Jets making the grand final in the following season.
Unfortunately, Mr Lee's fortunes seem to have suffered during the USA-China trade war and I believe it is obvious that financially supporting the Jets is a low priority.
To my knowledge he hasn't been to a Jets game this season. He also hasn't provided funds to replace our two injured strikers and Ernie Merrick has had to make do with players stepping up to play unfamiliar roles.
It would appear that Ernie Merrick has the support of the player group, if not the owner. I am dismayed at what might happen to our teams in the second half of the season.
Individuals who want to own a Newcastle football team seem to have a few things in common in my opinion: they like to stroke their own ego and they think that ownership qualifies them to make important selection decisions.
This model has failed three times in Newcastle over the past decade. I believe it's time for the Newcastle community to take over ownership of its own team.
I urge all Jets supporters to turn up in big numbers on Friday evening to face the formidable Sydney FC. My family has three seats in the eastern grandstand and every one of them will again be occupied. If Mr Lee has the audacity to attend, I'm sure he'll get the reception I think he deserves.
Our players need every bit of support that we can give them. They must be hurting right now, but I know they will commit 100 per cent.
John Lambkin, Eleebana
A NATION NEEDS TOUGH LOVE
I'VE often thought that, if anyone should be asked to leave Australia, it's the people who make a habit of telling other people to leave Australia. Let's call them the "Love It Or Leave" (LIOL) brigade. It seems Matt Ophir (Short Takes, 6/1) might be one of them. Personally, I happen to think Antony Bennett (Letters, 3/1) is completely on the money with the issues he's raised about our country. But I suspect the real target of his criticism isn't so much any of those specific issues, but a cultural ethos that demands, in the name of "patriotism", we all cooperate in the pretence the country is perfect. The sort of ethos foisted upon us by LIOL bumper stickers, t-shirts, and letters to the editor.
True patriotism doesn't dogmatically insist on my country, right or wrong. It isn't one that requires conspicuous displays of pride. If you genuinely love your country, you can choose to wear it lightly. And you can consider it an obligation to criticise your country, because you care enough to want see it be the best it can be. That is the kind of ethos we should foster, and the one most deserving of pride.
If we are to point the finger at anything, it should not be at those who think deeply enough about the country that they can recognise its flaws, but at the appropriation of the very idea of Australia, and the empowering of the splinter of the population who hold that view with the right to decide who should stay or who should go.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
THE CRITICISM IS INEFFICIENT
I LEFT on a cruise ship on Monday bound for New Zealand via Eden, Melbourne and Burnie. Had it been a couple of days earlier I am sure our ship would have happily taken people from Eden to Melbourne, the same way cruise ships routinely attend to emergencies at sea, but I believe to suggest the passengers could be offloaded and the ship commandeered for the task shows Graeme Kime (Letters, 6/1) knows little about how ships of all kinds work.
With the best organisation and advance notice, it takes a day to disembark and then reembark cruise ship passengers let alone organise supplies. And it did take time for our naval ships, which weren't anywhere near the emergency areas, to organise supplies, personnel , vehicles, generators and more but eventually they have been able to assist large numbers of people and evacuate them when aircraft were unable at times to even operate.
This has not been our biggest bushfire emergency if you ask me, far from it. What it is, though, is the most widespread one. Thanks to the various organisations, timely notifications (we at Mannering Park received notification of fires less than five kilometres away, so were informed even though not in immediate danger) and our own people, fewer lives have been lost than in any of the major bushfire emergencies of the past. We are learning. We are also learning that we should always add cash reserves whenever we travel.
If the truth be told, most of the criticisms are not justified. Simply lashing back at people does not solve anything. What will solve things is a thorough review and a national agency to oversee it all.
Garry Robinson, Mannering Park
MORRISON NEEDED TO LISTEN
SURE, Scott Morrison made a serious error of judgment in going on a family holiday to Hawaii and much has already been said in regards to that. Much more attention should be focused though on why did he totally ignore for months in the lead-up to these bushfires after the repeated warnings from the experts that our firefighting departments were ill equipped to deal with the oncoming threat of bushfires this Summer.
The call for emergency meetings by the likes of former fire commissioner Greg Mullins and others to discuss the seriousness of the situation were flatly ignored by Prime Minister Morrison, but he found the time to jettison off to the White House to have talks with US President Trump.
I believe it's highly likely that some of the destruction and even deaths could have been avoided had Mr Morrison done what any good leader does, and that is to listen and act on good advice in the nation's best interests by providing more resources to our firies well before the first fires started in September.
It seems he failed to do this and the consequences have been absolutely devastating. Has there ever been a prime minister who has demonstrated such a lack of leadership in both during and the lead-up to a time of crisis?
Ivan Hecimovic, Lambton
You have to feel for Ernie Merrick. The players couldn't kick a bucket of excrement off a pier and hit water so the Jets punt the coach ('Crashing Jets sack Merrick', Newcastle Herald 7/1).
Bob Salter, Stockton
THE Jets' New Year resolution must have been to give up trying. Disgraceful results for a once proud football city.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
IT was sad to hear of the passing of Geoff Dingle, former Councillor of Port Stephens Council. As Frank Ward articulated so well (Letters, 3/1), Geoff will be missed not only by his much loved family but by his Central Ward constituents and by those who sought his help. Mr Dingle acted with integrity and honesty in all aspects as a councillor. He was passionate about representing his community and party politics played no part in his decision-making. He deserved our gratitude for making himself so available to all residents, for help and advice given freely and his friendship to many. Libby, please accept our sincere sympathies. Geoff will be missed by us all.
Margarete Ritchie on behalf of Voice of Wallalong and Woodville
I AM over this PM bashing, and I think a few people need to get their facts correct. The point that seems to be getting lost in translation is that it was at the states' request that the Commonwealth only acts when requested by them. Yes, I believe the PM should have been on the ground as a consoling figure. I believe, from what I've read, that he has made the decision that this state-driven arrangement will be reviewed and more than likely taken away from them after he was hung out to dry. With respect to funding, no amount of funding is enough. From all reports from RFS personnel, in some case nothing was going to stop some of these fires.
Tony Mansfield, Lambton
The cause of the devastating fires afflicting Australia is rooted in the hollow "acknowledgement" that all public figures pay to the original custodians of our land and their elders past and present. To acknowledge someone or something is to not only accept or admit the existance or truth, but also to recognise the importance or quality of them or it. It is time to stop the lip service and blatant ignorance of what the original custodians had learned and implemented over 40,000 years or so that public figures have now gradually ceased practising over the past 40 years. Start managing our bush properly and reduce the fuel by cool burning off systematically. It ensured the original custodians always had a food supply.
Ben Scott, Mayfield
I AM stressing out again, people, and now I know why I needed a bypass op. Stop baiting each other and subjecting us readers to your inane and pointless arguments. A decade is a period of ten years; any period of ten years. The years between 1973 and 1983 form a decade. The years between 1987 and 1997 are a decade. So guess what? All of you are bloody correct. Enough is enough. We cop this in the letters pages every ten years or so (I mean every decade or so).