We were blown away when we read that Lawrie McKinna put $365,000 of his own money into the Newcastle Jets to help keep the club afloat. That's money he won't be getting back, either.
In case you missed the news, the Newcastle Herald reported last week that a liquidator's report showed McKinna injected all that money into the club in February last year, when the club was in financial strife.
Journalist Donna Page's story said former Chinese billionaire and Newcastle Jets owner Martin Lee "lost interest" in the club and refused to transfer any money for more than a year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lee bought the Jets in 2016 for $5.5 million, but ran into financial difficulties when the US-China trade war hammered his business interests in 2018-19.
President Donald Trump was trying to get a better deal for the US. And McKinna was trying to get a better deal for Newcastle when he helped bring Lee to the Jets.
Perhaps McKinna foresaw trouble ahead, though, given the opening paragraphs of his 2016 autobiography, Political Football: Lawrie McKinna's Dangerous Truth, written with author Adrian Deans.
"The Chinese have an ancient curse: 'May you be fated to live in interesting times'," his book began.
"On face value, it doesn't sound like much of a curse - better to live in interesting times than boring times, right? Wrong. Interesting times are those written by historians because they involve war, revolution, plague, famine, earthquakes or a thousand other perils to disturb the peace and tranquility of human life."
Plague, peril and [trade] war sounds about right.
There are many parts of the book that give insight into why McKinna might choose to put his own money into a football club. He lives and breathes the game. It's in his blood.
He was born in Kilmarnock in Scotland. His dad was a bus driver.
"If we'd known it, we were pretty poor, but life was pretty good despite my so-called humble beginnings," he wrote.
"I saw it as a world of privilege - nothing to do but play football in the street with my mates and no future but the dole or the factory unless you could kick a ball straight.
"One of my earliest memories is running to school with my football - rain, hail or snow. I'd be passing the ball off walls, lamp posts, trees, the kerb and running for the rebound.
"I loved the game and played it obsessively. I spent hours kicking a ball against a wall, always trying to hit the same spot to improve my passing and shooting."
We tried to contact Lawrie to ask him why he put all that money into the Jets. But we reckon these words from his book go some way towards explaining it.
Just Like Us
In response to Col Maybury's comments last week about the viking way in Iceland, Newcastle's Ray Dinneen told Topics that he visited the Nordic island two years ago.
He was surprised by how much Icelanders were like Australians.
"They have our sense of humour and even a slight Aussie accent flavouring their English, which I commented on," Ray said.
"They explained that many people in Iceland learned their English from watching Home and Away and Neighbours. Gradually they were able to ignore the Icelandic subtitles.
"Their sense of humour and easy-going attitude to life no doubt makes their harsh environment less intimidating. Bit like us really."