THE Newcastle Jets may not have wanted Kasey Wehrman but he insists the feeling is not mutual.
Regardless of whether he is involved, the veteran midfielder says it will be a tragedy if Newcastle does not have an A-League presence next season.
‘‘I’ve been in Newcastle two years now and I’ve become attached to the club and the fans and the city,’’ Wehrman said yesterday.
‘‘This is a great footballing town with a proud history. There has been football in Newcastle for 100 years before this and I’m confident football will survive here for another 100 years.
‘‘We can’t let football slip out of our grasp. This is a vibrant football community with so much potential.
‘‘Newcastle has to have a team in the A-League, and I think Football Federation Australia realise that.’’
Wehrman played his last game for the Jets on January 4, in a 3-2 win against Gold Coast, but was unofficially exiled days later after making comments about Newcastle’s playing tactics that infuriated coach Gary van Egmond.
Van Egmond refused to pick the 34-year-old in Newcastle’s remaining 13 games or even in youth league.
It is understood Wehrman was offered an early release from his contract but instead kept training with his teammates until the end of the campaign, hoping he might win a recall.
Wehrman harbours no ill will towards the Jets and believes Hunter Sports Group remains the best option to own the club.
HSG announced 16 days ago that billionaire Nathan Tinkler intended to relinquish his franchise licence. That decision was reaffirmed on Friday.
‘‘I’m still hoping FFA and Nathan can sit down and work out a solution,’’ he said. ‘‘In my mind, Nathan is the right person for the job.
‘‘The way the club has been run for the last 18 months, in terms of the professionalism and marketing, is far in advance of where we were.
‘‘HSG had some great ideas and seemed like they wanted to build something special here. It’s a bit sad if they aren’t going to see it through, but if that’s the case, I’m sure things will work out one way or another.
‘‘We were regularly getting crowds of 12,000 and 13,000 to our games this year. That sort of support, and things like the fans’ rally last week, tells me that this team is worth fighting for.’’
Wehrman said he was disappointed for his teammates, who have been left in limbo as they wait to learn if their club will survive.
‘‘In my case, I knew it was coming and I’ve been around long enough to realise that’s just part of football,’’ he said.
‘‘But I feel sorry for the younger players. It’s tough for them. They just have to wait and see how it all pans out and it’s not a nice situation to be in.’’
Wehrman, who has played professionally for 16 years, hopes to continue his career in the A-League next season.
And in the unlikely event that a new-look Newcastle entity requires his services, he would be interested.
‘‘I love the city and I loved playing for the Jets,’’ he said.