It's football but not as you know it, screamed the billboard.
TV screens preached the same message.
After an 18-month hiatus, the A-League was cleared for take off in August 2005.
New teams, new brand, new direction.
Gone was old soccer. Replaced by new football.
The Newcastle Jets were one of eight clubs, condensed from 13 in the final season of the National Soccer League, given the tick for the ground-breaking inaugural 2005-06 season.
A new franchise drawn from one of the heartlands of Australian football.
The 1880s brought young Brits in their droves to mine the seams of coal in the Hunter. Fueled by an appetite for football, they cleared the bush to create playing fields and started pioneering clubs like Minmi Rangers (formed in 1884), West Wallsend Bluebells, Wallsend, Cessnock and Adamstown.
With 104 men and 30 women from Northern NSW having worn the green and gold since the first national team was chosen in 1922, few regions in Australia have made as big a contribution to the code.
The likes of Frank Coolahan, Reg Date, Allan Johns, Doug Wendt, Bill Mahoney, Ray Baartz, Col Curran, Ken Boden and Graham Jennings were among the best to represent their nation.
Not to mention, the legendary Craig Johnston - a Liverpool great, FA Cup winner and the man who blazed the trail to England for a convoy of Aussie talent.
International teams, headed by Manchester United, were regular visitors to the Hunter, but the region didn't feature on the national stage until the formation of KB United in 1977.
The early days were intoxicating times. KB United made their national league debut against Sydney City in front of a full house at the International Sports Centre on March 5, 1978.
The great Bobby Charlton came out of retirement to play a guest stint. Johnston - Newcastle's favourite football son - scored a hat-trick against Brisbane Lions as a guest player in year two. Englishman Micky Channon and his famous "windmill" celebration also delighted the terraces.
While Baartz and Curran and fellow home-grown stars Joe Senkalski, David Lowe and brothers Peter and Howard Tredinnick became household names, the crowd favourite was undoubtedly Boden.
The 28-year-old journeyman had battled away in England's lower divisions with clubs like Hull City, Scunthorpe, Sheffield United, Matlock Town, Bridlington and Doncaster Rovers before lured Down Under.
In his two seasons with KB, he scored 26 goals in 52 games, including 14 in his first campaign, after which he received the league's Player of the Year award.
In an article penned by Newcastle Herald colleague Robert Dillon in 2013, Baartz said: "You see players that come out here who've played at a higher level and they don't adjust. I guess he was just the perfect fit."
After two halcyon years, however, reality dawned. Financially embattled from the outset, KB were forced to sell Boden in 1983, collecting a $30,000 transfer fee when he signed a four-year deal with Sydney City.
Baartz said that in hindsight Boden's transfer "was the beginning of the end" for KB United, who within two years folded.
It was the start of an all-too familiar story for Newcastle's football flagship.
Since that ground-breaking moment in 1978, the region has played under five banners - KB United, Newcastle Rosebud, Newcastle Breakers, Newcastle United and the Jets - on a roller-coaster ride of fluctuating success and empty wallets.
In 1984, Newcastle Rosebud took KB United's place in the national competition. Within 18 months that hybrid shocked Melbourne Croatia to win the national cup competition.
But diminishing funds, poor results and dwindling support resulted in their demise after just three campaigns.
After a five-year hibernation, Newcastle Austral gained entry into the NSL for 1991-92 and changed their name to Newcastle Breakers.
Under John Kosmina, youngsters Troy Halpin, Clayton Zane, Scott Thomas, Andy Roberts, Mark Wilson and Shane Pryce to emerged but again funds were short and they sat out the 1994-95 season.
A group of Newcastle businessmen and football tragics pooled their resources and revived the region's national league hopes in 1995. Survival was the aim.
Limited by a shoestring budget, they relied largely on home-grown talent.
Apart from a disastrous maiden season - conceding 77 goals in 33 games - they punched above their weight.
With Lee Sterrey at the wheel, the Breakers, which he dubbed the VWs of the league, finished seventh.
Importantly, they kept the dream alive long enough for Con Constantine to come along.
A Sydney-based multimillionaire with a passion for football and Newcastle, Constantine saved the region from losing its team again after then owner, David Hall, reneged on his undertakings and Newcastle United was born. A year later they were fully professional.
Former Norwich legend Ian Crook teamed up with Gary van Egmond to take the club to the finals for the first time in 2001-02, only to go down 1-0 to Sydney Olympic in the preliminary final - in front of 17,708 at what is now McDonald Jones Stadium. They reached the same stage in 2002-03.
Significantly, the club was well-positioned to join the revolution that followed - the A-League.
The Jets, pieced together by former Football Australia supremo Remo Nogarotto and led by former Socceroos Ned Zelic, appeared one of the better equipped to take the game into a new era.
Prolific goalscorer Ante Milicic led the attack. Weston-born former Socceroo Richard Johnson had returned after 14 years in England and brought experience to a midfield that boasted Nick Carle and home-grown talents Stuart Musialik and Jobe Wheelhouse. Mateo Corbo added steel to a backline that included future captains Jade North and Matt Thompson.