Zakynthos is postcard perfect.
One of 227 Greek islands, the water is crystal clear. The Blue Caves, a must see.
The ideal getaway. A chance to forget everything else. Relax.
Unless you are Newcastle Jets coach Arthur Papas.
"I struggled to find a day where I didn't have a call or open up the laptop," Papas said of the off-season "holiday" with his partner that included a stopover in Athens. "It is nicer [working] when you are sitting on the beach.
"The job is relentless. The way we function, you are doubling up and tripling up in a lot of areas. At the end of the day, it is my responsibility. I owe it to this community, to keep making strides. To do that, you have to be willing to work hard. There is no lack of that from my side or any of the staff's side."
Papas's world is football. It consumes him.
After a decade refining his craft in India, Japan and Saudi Arabia, Papas touched down in Newcastle 12 months ago tasked with perhaps his biggest challenge - building the Newcastle Jets into a sustainable force in the A-League.
Year one was all about forging an identity. A playing style that would capture the hearts and minds of Jets fans and bring overdue success to a proud football region. He introduced an up-tempo, aggressive, attacking game plan. High risk. High reward.
The bold approach earned universal approval. The Jets scored 45 goals - third most behind Melbourne City (55) and Central Coast (49) - but fell short of the finals.
"We got some things right last year and some things, we didn't hit the mark," Papas said. "We have tried to address those areas. We won't change the way we go about it.
"We are more settled this year. There is still a lot of change. That is probably consistent. Some of it is real positive change and some is maybe regrettable.
"I think we have made good strides in season one and want to really progress in season two."
To a man, the recruits that Papas has brought to the club have said they were drawn by "the football" the Jets played last season.
"It has not been such a hard sell," Papas said. "In the first season, you are working off a blank canvas. The only image players had was of what happened with the team the previous 12 months, which were difficult.
"This season we went about recruiting a lot earlier, identifying players who we thought could help us.
"It hasn't been as difficult and we have been able to attract some fairly good players into the club."
Most of the recruitment was in the book before Papas put his feet - and laptop - up in Zakynthos.
He had specific players and skill sets on a wish list and went about ticking them off.
Brandon O'Neill. Tick. Reno Piscopo. Tick. Carl Jenkinson, Callum Timmins, Jaushua Sotirio, James McGarry, Daniel Stynes, Beka Dartsmelia. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Twelve fresh faces in total.
"That is the beauty of spending 12 months back in the country and understanding the league more, understanding the teams more and understanding the players more," Papas said
"I had been away for a long time. You still keep abreast of things but you are not really in tune with daily operations.
"This year, we were able to identify players early and for the most part we got a lot of the targets we went after.
"I understand the domestic market a lot more. A lot of these guys have come in on two-year contracts.
"They are all in a really good age category. They are between 23 and 28 which is peak periods for a player. There is still a lot of upside in terms of where they can go.
"O'Neill captained his club Perth. Reno is one of Australia's most creative players. He still has to add consistency to his game but he is fearless and wants to get on the ball in any situation. The way we play, it is important to have that type of character.
"We lost Daniel Penha and replacing his creativity wasn't going to be easy. Someone who can create, score goals and really take the game by the scruff of the neck in the front third is hard to find.
"That is why we have tried to address it in a couple of ways."
Signing the players is only half the battle. Providing the right environment for them to prosper is equally important.
"I approach every day the same in terms of working at my best level and trying to create an environment where players can be their best every day," Papas said.
"Myself and the staff work really hard in that area to make sure we drive an environment that hopefully creates opportunities for players to progress in their careers, and bring some optimism into this place which has been through quite a bit over a few years now."
The next challenge - and the next step in the club's evolution - is to turn attractive football into winning football.
"That is the ultimate aim," Papas said. "Not just to play nice. We want to play winning football but with a clear identity.
"A lot has been made of the number of goals we conceded, but there was a team in the finals that conceded more than us.
"It is clearly not just about the goals conceded, it is about key moments, it's about managing games, it's about having your best players available at the right time.
"It is also about the fixturing. Last year, we were dealt the stiffest part of the draw. We had the longest period of anyone with no games [due to COVID-19]. That tested our ability to bounce back."
At a resort on an island not far from Zakynthos, Ange Postecoglou was on a well-earned break.
Papas was an assistant to Postecoglou at Yokohama F Marinos when they won the J-League. The pair remain close.
Of course, Postecoglou masterminded Celtic to a Scottish Premier League title last season.
I owe it to this community, to keep making strides. To do that, you have to be willing to work hard.- ARTHUR PAPAS
There is a lot of "Ange Ball" in the way the Jets play.
"Ange had such a successful season," Papas said. "Playing a great brand of football, but being successful with it as well. I look up to him a lot. He is a great sounding board for me.
"He was on another resort in Greece. The job is relentless and it only gets bigger on the bigger scale.
"To have that communication and support now and then, I appreciate it. There are a lot of people who Ange helps and mentors."
As much as it is a big year for the Jets, it is an even bigger year for the A-League.
COVID-19 had a massive impact on the competition. Crowds dropped off a cliff. On-the-run scheduling meant fans did not know who or where their team was playing.
The standard suffered due to a lop-sided draw, short turnarounds and fatigued players.
Rumbling in the background has been the Jets ownership saga.
For the past two seasons, the club has been bankrolled by the owners of four rival clubs.
An American consortium, led by Brett Johnson and Jordan Gardner, were in April reportedly close to finalising a takeover.
The Newcastle Herald understands talks with that group, which stretch back to February 2021, are ongoing but there are other potential bidders for the licence.
"I have been on the record about how grateful I am of the owners who have kept this club alive," Papas said. "In saying that, we do want to make sure the long-term ownership structure develops and gives us certain opportunities to compete at the top end of the scale in all areas. Not just the first team, it's in infrastructure, facilities ... there are a lot of things you need to develop as a club.
"I think we have made some steps with some really sound support.
"Ultimately, football is about passion and you want to have passion that drives that investment as well.
"We tried to get some bums back on seats, give the fans a product that had them on the edge of their seat at times. We tried to play with an attacking mindset and not take a backward step to teams whether we were home or away.
"Now the aim is to back it up with better results."