AS applicants for the Newcastle Jets' coaching vacancy flood in from far and wide, I find myself pondering two names unlikely to feature on the short list.
Craig Deans and Clayton Zane have each served long and thorough coaching apprenticeships after distinguished playing careers, and both have had a brief taste of steering Newcastle's A-League team, on an interim basis.
Both are highly qualified, respected, passionate about the game and proudly Novocastrian.
In an ideal world, you would assume coaching the Jets would be their dream job, yet it appears neither will be submitting a CV for assessment after the recent decision by Welshman Carl Robinson to bail out and sign a three-year deal with Western Sydney.
Zane spent 12 games as Newcastle's caretaker coach in 2013-14, and has since served as deputy to Phil Stubbins, Mark Jones and Ernie Merrick.
Family reasons, however, have prompted him to scale back his work commitments and he has been content running his own InZane Football coaching program.
Deans has twice served as a stand-in Jets coach, firstly for three games in 2011-12 when Branko Culina was sacked, and then for five games after Merrick was dismissed in January this year. After Robinson was appointed, Deans resumed his role as technical director of Newcastle's academy, but when the A-League squad kicked off pre-season training last week, he was again parachuted in to oversee their sessions.
Merrick, for what it's worth, reckons Zane is a ready-made A-League coach, while Zane believes the Jets should offer the job to Deans, with former A-League goal poacher Daniel McBreen and ex-Edgeworth coach Damian Zane as his deputies.
When asked about Deans this week, however, Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna replied: "I think eventually he would like to be an A-League coach, but he has not come up to me and said put my name in for the job."
It was a similar story when Merrick was ousted in the new year and Deans, at the time, was non-committal about the prospect of replacing him on a full-time basis.
A coach with local knowledge, an understanding of Newcastle's footballing landscape and history, would appear advantageous. In saying that, Toronto-Awaba product Jones lasted only one season in the hot seat, after the Jets finished with the wooden spoon in 2016-17.
How long Deans will be required to hold the fort is anyone's guess, given that the Jets' search for a new coach conincides with their search for a new owner.
McKinna, quite rightly, says any decision on a coach needs to be made by whoever replaces Chinese businessman Martin Lee, who has been trying to sell the club for more than a year.
McKinna remains confident that negotiations between Football Federation Australia and prospective buyers are close to delivering a positive outcome.
But the unflappable Scotsman knows all too well such deals are never guaranteed until contracts are signed and sealed.
In the meantime, every day without a new owner leaves the Jets further behind the eight-ball.
It already seems unlikely they will have a coach in place by the time pre-season trials kick off.
Meanwhile, until the new coach is on deck, it's hard to imagine much will happen in terms of recruiting players.
After the end-of-season departures of Dimi Petratos, Abdiel Arroyo, Wes Hoolahan, Matt Millar, Nick Fitzgerald and Joe Ledley, Newcastle's roster would appear in need of reinforcements.
So not only are the Jets in the market for a new owner and a new coach, some new players would also come in handy.
These players, like the coach, will in all likelihood have to be Australian, because the logistics of importing foreigners into the country is expected to be prohibitive.
Shopping nationally rather than in a global market will naturally reduce Newcastle's recruitment options.
Their potential coaches presumably fall into two categories: former A-League tacticians who are out of work, or those who have no experience in charge of an A-League club.
All of whom apparently are willing to overlook the fact that, if their application is successful, they will become Newcastle's fourth head coach in the space of a year.
If it all seems a bit deja vu for Jets fans, who have a fair idea what a crisis looks like, then at least they can take some comfort in the past two coaching appointments McKinna has made.
Merrick took Newcastle to a grand final they were desperately unlucky to lose, while Robinson delivered a remarkable six wins, three draws and a lone defeat from his 10-game tenure, before he was tempted by greener pastures. Jets fans can only hope Lawrie makes it a hat-trick with his recommendation for the new owner.
Whether the incoming coach has any Newcastle background or connections remains to be seen, but the lack thereof never made any difference to the way Merrick and Robinson went about their work.
Here's hoping the next Jets coach - once he has been chosen by the next Jets owner - delivers the type of success fans are craving.
I'm sure "Clacka" and "Deansy" will wish him well.
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