ARTHUR Papas is confident that he has the experience - and financial resources - to turn the Newcastle Jets' into an A-League powerhouse.
Papas was on Monday confirmed as the Jets' boss for the next two seasons.
He replaces Craig Deans and is the 11th pilot entrusted with the controls in 16 seasons. Only championship-winner Gary van Egmond and veterans Branko Culina and Ernie Merrick have lasted more than one campaign.
"Everywhere I have gone, I have been successful in terms of improving results," Papas said. "In the past 11 years there have been various roles either as head coach or assistant. I feel more than prepared for this kind of job.
"I can't really talk about why it hasn't worked out for other people.
"The club has gone through a couple of difficult years. That is the kind of challenge I want, the kind of challenge I relish.
"The last job I had in Japan, I didn't have a player or staff member who spoke English. In the end I still believed in the message that I sent on how I wanted to play, how I wanted to train, how I wanted to behave."
Few have served a more thorough apprenticeship than Papas, who spent six months in Newcastle as the youth team coach and assistant to van Egmond a decade ago before a journey including stopovers in India, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
His name had been thrown up for just about every A-League job that became available, but Newcastle was the role he desired.
"Newcastle is a special place. I really enjoyed my team here," he said. "The people, the lifestyle, the way they get behind their team. For me it was the story I wanted to be a part of in Australian football. Now it is up to the whole organisation and myself to make something of it."
The Jets are bankrolled by the owners of rivals Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington.
Before committing Papas met with the consortium and was given assurances regarding budgets and resources.
"The owners have made it clear that they want to see Newcastle higher up the ladder," Papas said. "It is a process that takes time but in football you don't get much time."
Papas has already begun an overhaul of the playing roster. Of the 32 players used last campaign, 16 have departed, headed by captain Nigel Boogaard (retirement) and leading goal-scorer Roy O'Donovan..
Olyroos midfielder Cameron Devlin is his first major signing, joining the Jets on a two-year deal from Wellington, where he as among their stars.
"He was given an opportunity in Wellington to show his qualities and was outstanding over the course of a couple of years," Papas said. "Technical he is quality, his leadership capabilities, his ability in a duel as well. I have had some conversations with him and am really impressed with his character.
"For a player like that who is on the up to come across, that is a clear message on our ability to recruit players."
Papas said "robust discussions" were being held with several foreigners in a bid to strengthen an attack which scored a league-low 24 goals last season.
"You need to score goals to be successful," Papas said. "That leaves a hole that needs to be filled. We are in robust discussions with various players from overseas.
"It is about making sure we the right character, with the right physical profile, the right technical profile to play the game we are going to play. To win championships you need to be on the front foot. You can't be a reactive team. There will definitely movement in the front third and not just replacing Roy.
"We need a lot more creativity, a lot more penetration in the front third in terms of speed and an ability to get in the box.
"That is definitely something we are targeting but we will take our time with that. The important part is that we don't rush into doing anything because we feel we need to do things immediately."
Papas, 41, spent two seasons as the right-hand man to Ange Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos, helping them to a historic J-League title in 2019, and was most recently in control of J3 club Kagoshima United.
Not surprisingly he learnt a lot under the former Socceroos boss, who last week took over the reins at Scottish giants Celtic
"The main thing is to be yourself," Papas said. "Have conviction in what you believe and follow it through. If you look at Ange's career, it hasn't always been rosy but he has always had a belief on how his teams want to play and who he is as a person.
"He has set a blueprint for Australian coaches. You can be ambitious. I don't want to place a limit on what we can do in Newcastle. I just want to get on the ground and start running."
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