As fans sat down in their seats at Hunter Stadium yesterday afternoon they could have been forgiven for holding lofty expectations.
The Newcastle Jets kicked off their Hyundai A-League campaign at home against a travel-weary Adelaide United side who had just returned from Uzbekistan.
Yet hopes were dashed in the first minute when Dario Vidosic poked home an easy goal to stun the home crowd into silence and from then on the Jets never looked like getting in the game.
The crowd stuck with their team though, and although most would have gone home frustrated, the healthy attendance of 14,868 bodes well for growth of the game.
Large sections of the crowd were dominated by blue and red merchandise and membership caps were out in force under the hot sun.
All eyes were on star signing Emile Heskey and many fans donned their number nine jerseys in a show of support.
One keen fan even sported ‘‘Del Heskey’’ on his back, perhaps hoping the former Liverpool front man could merge his skills with Sydney FC’s marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero.
Debutant goalkeeper Mark Birighitti added to the crowd’s woes midway through the second half when he was sent off for handball after a rash foray out of his box and Iain Ramsay soon finished off the match to send the home crowd off in a sombre mood.
Brian Loxley and his family bought memberships for the first time this season but he wasn’t too deflated by the result.
‘‘I don’t think they played too badly,’’ he said.
‘‘Even when they went down to 10 men the players were still pushing and the crowd tried to lift them.
‘‘But I guess it was just one of those days.’’