BARNSLEY’S Chad and Kira Eacott are expecting their first child in the next few weeks, a little girl whom the couple hoped would grow up to be a Newcastle Jets fan just like them.
Mr Eacott, who has followed Newcastle’s flagship football team since they were the Breakers, and his wife even received a tiny Jets jersey at a baby shower.
But yesterday’s shock announcement from Nathan Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group has thrown their hopes into limbo, with the billionaire mining magnate opting to hand back the Newcastle Jets A-league licence to Football Federation Australia.
Mr Eacott echoed the sentiment of many Jets fans yesterday when he said he felt as though his ‘‘heart had just been ripped out’’.
‘‘It’s just a huge blow, I couldn’t imagine this town without a football team,’’ he said.
‘‘Kira and I went to every home game last season as well as matches in Brisbane, Bathurst and Sydney.
‘‘We were hoping that our little girl would be a Jets fan too. I was only thinking the other day that I was looking forward to buying her a Jets membership and taking her along to games.’’
Merewether United Football Club’s under-13s team members said they were worried about what the decision could mean for the future of the game in the Hunter.
Hayden Taylor, 11, a striker for the team, said he usually went to home games with his parents.
‘‘Now I’ll have nothing to do on weekends,’’ he said.
Lyndal Mountfort, 12, said the A-League would be ‘‘boring’’ if Newcastle didn’t have a team.
Jets fan and squadron member Daniel Scully said the announcement was a ‘‘big shock to the system’’ and supporters weren’t ready to deal with the notion that Newcastle could be without an A-League team next season.
Daniel Hersee, co-founder of Jets supporter group Topor’s Troopers, who don black wigs as a tribute to their favourite player Nikolai Topor-Stanley, said he was ‘‘absolutely devastated’’ by the news.