Gary van Egmond knew that he had had been handed the team to a degree when he led the Jets to within a penalty shoot-out of a grand final berth in 2006-07 season.
Now it was his.
"You get a chance to put your spin on it, but it was still inherited," he offered. "It was a situation where people may have doubted if I could coach or not. This year it was different in that I had the team from the outset. I could prove myself once and for all."
Everything, it seemed, was set up for the Jets to go at least a step further.
But life as the Jets coach is never a smooth ride.
The sudden retirement of Paul Okon, combined with the sale of Nick Carle to Turkey and the departure of Vaughan Coveny (Wellington) and Milton Rodriguez (Colombia), left van Egmond without a captain, the league's most valuable player and half of the team's goals.
A scouting mission to South America produced little more than a stamp on his passport.
With the season fast approaching, van Egmond took a gamble on signing Argentinian midfielder Jorge Drovandi and pint-sized Brazilian playmaker Denni on the strength of DVD footage.
Drovandi didn't play again after a mistake-riddled 27 minutes off the bench in the opening round and was released before Christmas.
After a slow start, Denni made 17 appearances but didn't have the same impact as Carle, the man he replaced.
Then, of course, there was Mario Jardel.
Recruited by owner Con Constantine, Jardel - the larger-than-life character who Porto and Galatasaray fans called "Super Mario" - arrived with a resume boasting 10 caps for Brazil and two European Golden Boots.
But in the previous five years, Jardel had played just 37 games amid reports of fitness, drug and gambling problems.
"If he was at 100 per cent fitness and still at the peak of his game, he would be plying his trade in Europe," Jets director of football Remo Nogarotto said.
After three months to get fit, Jardel made an uninspiring debut off the bench in round four.
His teammates were prepared to roll with the striker's poor fitness and minimal contribution out of respect for what the 34-year-old had done in the game.
But after back-to-back losses to Sydney and Perth, followed by Jardel recording an embarrassing 9.4 in a beep test, the players voiced their frustration.
"When he is on the field, it feels as though we might as well be playing with 10 men.He is a liability," a player told the Herald.
Constantine, who had insisted that Jardel start in three games, too ran out of patience after 11 appearances and handed the coach total control of the playing roster.
Jardel did not play again and returned to Brazil in January.
Jade North had taken over the captaincy and natural leaders started to emerge in Ante Covic, Andrew Durante, Matt Thompson and Adam Griffiths, who returned to Newcastle from England to reunite with twin Joel.
Like most new things, it took time for the Jets to jell and grow.
After uninspiring draws against Perth (0-0) and Queensland (1-0), they recorded their first win in round three, a gritty 1-0 effort over new boys Wellington.
They continued to chug along, mixing wins with draws and the occasional loss, staying in the top four without ever appearing to be championship material.
It all threatened to unravel in November.
In a bleak month, the Jets went four games without a win, including back-to-back losses to Sydney (1-0) and Perth (4-1).
A gutsy 1-0 triumph over Queensland away followed by a 3-1 blitz of defending champions Melbourne a fortnight later swung momentum.
The turn in fortunes coincided with the permanent arrival of wonder boy James Holland.
But for all Holland's talent, his contribution paled in comparison to that of striker Joel Griffiths and goalkeeper Ante Covic.
If ever there was a most valuable player, it was the blond striker. Not only did he set a new A-League record of 14 goals, highlighted by two Beckham-esque free kicks, his pace, power and rawness made him a poster boy for the club and the city.
Griffiths' popularity in the Hunter rivalled that of Knights legend Andrew Johns and was the catalyst for one pundit to take to rename Griffiths Road to "Joel Griffiths Road" in spray paint.
The breakout season could have panned out far differently for Griffiths - and the Jets - had a brain snap against the Mariners in round seven been handled differently by the officials.
Dubbed Griffiths' "Sack whack", the striker lashed out at the groin of linesman Alex Glasgow against the Mariners after he had flagged against the Jets. The incident went viral.
Griffiths apologised and was fined two weeks' wages but because he was shown a yellow card by referee Matthew Breeze no further action could be taken by the FFA.
The No.9 duly scored from the spot late to seal a 2-0 win at home in the first leg of the major semi-final against the Mariners.
The Mariners responded in typical fashion, beating the Jets 3-0 in extra time to book direct entry to the decider.
The Jets were left to take on the Roar at home. They wouldn't be denied a grand final berth a second time.
They edged visitors 3-2 in extra time in a pulsating and controversial preliminary final.
Wild scenes erupted when referee Peter Green finally blew full-time.
Thirty years after pioneers KB United made the first foray into the national league, one of Australia's proudest soccer region's had a ticket to the big dance.
The win sealed a place in the 2009 Asian Champions League and a chance at redemption against arch rivals Mariners.
Jets owner Con Constantine stormed onto the ground, pumping his fists and jumping for joy. He went to the eastern grandstand, got down on his knees and paid homage to the Jets faithful, sending them into raptures.