THEY say possession is nine-tenths of the law, but Clayton Zane is relaxed about whether his second stint as Newcastle’s interim coach will lead to a full-time appointment.
Zane has been temporarily ensconced in the hot seat since the shock sacking of Scott Miller two weeks ago, and he is no stranger to the role, having stepped in as caretaker for 12 A-League games in 2014 after the dismissal of Gary van Egmond.
His record after van Egmond’s departure was respectable – five wins, five losses, two draws, 19 goals for, 17 goals against – but it was not enough to steer the Jets into the play-offs.
Similarly, in two games since Miller’s abrupt exit, the Jets do not appear to have missed a beat, scoring 4-0 victories against Northern NSW NPL champions Edgeworth and a below-strength Melbourne City.
Zane, the former Socceroos striker who played 70 games for Newcastle Breakers, would relish the chance to coach his home-town club for the long haul.
But unlike others among the 60-odd candidates, the 39-year-old is not planning to spruik his services publicly, instead allowing Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna to work through the process.
“It’s not a headache I want to give Lawrie,’’ Zane told the Newcastle Herald.
“It depends what the club needs, and I’m sure he’s going about it the right way to get the best person in.
“So at the moment I see myself just as a stopgap role, and being part of the club it’s a little bit different in nature, where you don’t come out publicly and state your case.
“I’m sure Lawrie has a short list and I’m just happy to help out any way I can.’’
Nonetheless, Zane said his ultimate ambition was to become a head coach in the A-League and he felt his stint as stand-in 18 months ago provided invaluable experience.
“It’s something I would love to eventually do, but it’s up to others within the club to recognise when the right time is,’’ he said. “Every experience you get at first-team level, it’s better than any course or study that you can do into the art of coaching.
“Those real-life experiences are hard to beat. I guess the big difference between last time and this time is that I’m a lot more confident in what I’m doing and have a lot more belief in myself.
“It’s something where I’ve always said I want to be a career coach. Hopefully that time will come, but I’m not sure when.’’
Assistant coach under Phil Stubbins for half a season, and Newcastle’s youth-team coach for the past 12 months, Zane is held in high regard by the club’s senior players and the respect is obviously mutual.
“The playing group has made it a lot easier to slot straight in and hit the ground running,’’ he said. “We’ve got some strong leaders, like [Nigel Boogaard], and they’ve been really good in helping keep everyone focused on what needs to be done.’’
Zane said Saturday’s trial against Western Sydney at Cessnock would be a timely step up in class.