Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop fumed that Nathan Tinkler's contribution to the Newcastle Jets would soon be "forgotten" by a Novocastrian community fed up with his business practices.
Tinkler's four year and seven month tenure as Jets owner ended abruptly on May 21, 2015 when FFA revoked his franchise licence, just hours after he placed the club into voluntary administration citing liabilities of $2.7 million.
"I have no doubt Nathan went into the ownership with all the right intentions, and even had outbreaks of wanting it to work in recent times," Gallop said. "But it hasn't. Not paying wages, stadiums, training grounds, numerous trade creditors, owing millions in tax, owing superannuation for months - if you do it for long enough, maybe you start to convince yourself that it's normal and even convince yourself that it's right as an owner. It's not normal or OK. The contributions he has made, however significant, will be forgotten quickly. The community expects better.
"In a community like Newcastle, everyone knows the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. If they don't get paid, it has a ripple effect across the town."
Gallop said he sympathised with Jets chief executive officer Mitchell Murphy and predecessor Robbie Middleby, who too often had been dealing with disgruntled creditors.
"We are supportive of Mitchell Murphy, but like Robbie Middleby, he can't spend every day explaining to people that the cheque is in the mail," he said.
Tinkler's demise was coupled with the Jets' worst season in history.
Twenty-seven games produced just three wins, a meagre 17 points and a second wooden spoon.
The issues were at both ends. They leaked a whopping 55 goals and scored a paltry 23 for a goal difference of minus 32. All totals were the worst in the league.
The annus horribilis was mired in controversy. Five senior players, including club great Joel Griffiths and captain Kew Jaliens, were sensational sacked after a failed coup against coach Phil Stubbins. Assistant coaches Clayton Zane, Neil Young and Andrew Packer were also axed. Other players headed by, keeper Mark Birighitti, exited by choice.
Middleby and chairman, Newcastle football icon Ray Baartz resigned mid-season.
The shambolic end to the campaign was a far cry from the optimism exhibited in August, despite a departure lounge headed by Emile Heskey (Bolton), golden boot Adam Taggart (Fulham), captain Ruben Zadkovch (Perth), player of the year Josh Brillante (Fiorentina) and Socceroo Nathan Burns (Wellington)
Stubbins, long considered an A-League coach in waiting, was full of enthusiasm and delivered an all-too familiar promise of finals football. Most experts had tipped them to struggle.
Jaliens, a Dutch international, was installed captain of side that included Socceroos Joel Griffiths, David Carney, Adrian Madaschi, Ecuadorean striker Edson Montana and former Johnny Warren medalist Marcos Flores.
"We don't really care what people say," Jaliens said. "As a team we believe in ourselves and that is the most important thing."
Certainly, few foresaw the horror show that played out.
Within a month, there was a split between the senior players and the coach.
The opening 10 rounds failed to produce a win.
Middleby and Baartz resigned in January.
After announcing in August that Jets were for sale and that he couldn't "wait to get them out the door", Tinkler performed a backflip and reaffirmed his commitment to the club, despite his financial empire crumbling.
"I believe in the A-League long-term and it has a special place in the hearts of many Australians and we have a pretty good soccer history in Newcastle," Tinkler said.
The flashpoint came on January 24 - a 7-0 capitulation to Adelaide United.
Stubbins and a senior player had a heated exchange at half-time after the coach had been delivered a few "home truths".
The pair clashed again at the team hotel.
Within two days it was all out war.
The players met privately before Jaliens informed Stubbins they "no longer had faith" in the coach.
Stubbins flew to Brisbane that afternoon where he "got in ear" of Tinkler.
The mutiny failed and Jaliens, Griffiths, David Carney, Billy Celeski and Adrian Madaschi had their contracts terminated.
"These decisions were made in the best interest of the playing group and to improve the club culture for the young players who we believe are the future of the Jets," Tinkler said in a statement.
"Now Phil will get the chance to have the squad he wants by the start of next year, and for the rest of this year he will have a bunch of players there that will have to prove they are worthy of being in that squad next season."
Jim Pascoe, Mark Jones and Jess Vanstrattan were added to the coaching staff, while Korean defender Lee Ki-je, centre back Daniel Mullen and Serbian winger Enver Alivodic, were brought in to fill the gaps.
The Jets were on eight points with one win, their finals hopes gone. In the final 12 rounds, they notched nine points, highlighted by wins over a second-string Wanderers and league favourites Melbourne Victory.
"There are no regrets whatsoever," Stubbins said. "When you want to improve things there are times when you need to be strong and make decisions."
In May, with Tinkler unable to meet debts, FFA stepped in.
The governing body paid overdue wages, guaranteed that all 15 contracted players would be offered like-for-like contracts with the new Newcastle entity and indicated that they would sift through the Jets' creditors to assess, on a case-by-case basis, who would be reimbursed.
Gallop said many clubs had changed ownership over the history of the A-League and "transition usually produces a stronger club".