HE was once promised the job as Newcastle Jets head coach.
Now Mark Jones doubts he is a candidate for the vacant youth team role after revealing yesterday his expressions of interest have apparently fallen on deaf ears.
Newcastle’s youth coach, Arthur Papas, resigned yesterday to take charge immediately of the Indian under-22 team, whom he will steer into next month’s Asian Cup.
The Jets issued a media release in which they said youth team assistant coach James Pascoe would deputise for Papas in the interim but the club had ‘‘already compiled a shortlist of replacements and an announcement is anticipated in the next few months’’.
Jones, recently returned from five months with Chinese club Chongqing Lifan FC, would appear to have outstanding credentials.
Not only is he a home-grown Novocastrian who represented Newcastle in the old National Soccer League but also he served a successful apprenticeship coaching elite juniors and women before serving as assistant to Gary van Egmond in Newcastle’s 2008 grand final triumph.
When van Egmond walked out on the Jets in June 2009, there was speculation that Jones would inherit the top job.
Instead then owner Con Constantine appointed experienced Branko Culina but assured Jones that he would assume the reins at the end of Culina’s two-year tenure.
Unfortunately for Jones, Constantine was subsequently stripped of his licence and Culina wasted no time in finding himself a new assistant coach, only to be sacked by new owner Nathan Tinkler six months into a four-year contract.
Now Jones is looking for a new opportunity to resume his coaching career.
Though he remains close friends with van Egmond, he doubts they will renew their partnership at the Jets.
‘‘I would love to get back in the A-League but obviously there are limited opportunities,’’ Jones said.
‘‘Obviously there is a job going here and I’d love to be involved.
‘‘But [Hunter Sports Group chief executive] Troy Palmer hasn’t returned my calls or emails.
‘‘If for whatever reason Troy has an issue, I’d love to be able to sit down and talk it over and resolve that.
‘‘If it can’t be resolved, so be it. But at this present time, the feedback I’ve received is that it looks like I’ll be having no involvement.’’
Jones said he had no problem with Palmer, because ‘‘I’ve never met the bloke’’.
Palmer did not reply to a text message yesterday but the Jets issued a statement, which read: ‘‘The Jets do not speculate on player or coach appointments. Note the Jets head coach and Jets CEO make all Jets’ football appointments.’’
Jones was confident his CV would stack up favourably against any other applicants for the Newcastle youth team position.
‘‘I’ve gone from being three or four months off taking over as head coach, when Con was there, to being completely out of the club,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been a little bit frustrating, especially as I had three years to run on my contract as assistant coach ... it’s dumbfounding, really.’’
In a statement yesterday, Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby thanked Papas for his contribution to the club.
Papas described the Jets as ‘‘a club on the rise’’ and said he would monitor their progress from India.