IT is fair to say an element of trepidation filled the Football Mid North Coast offices ahead of Newcastle Jets visit to Port Macquarie on Tuesday night.
But they didn’t need to worry.
More than 4000 fans packed into Regional Stadium to witness the Jets in action locally for the first time in seven years.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons was beaming after the game, ecstatic the community had backed an event they had worked hard to secure.
“We hoped for this sort of crowd and it’s beyond our expectations,” he said.
“Mid-week on a Tuesday night in the middle of winter to come and watch a game of football at Port Regional Stadium between a local rep side and an A-League side … it’s just an outstanding, overwhelming success.
“I couldn’t be happier.”
Following the event, Parsons said the turnout had sent a clear message to other codes, local councils and government that there was an appetite for high-level football in the region.
“I’m shaking with excitement and I think it’s a watershed moment for football on the Mid North Coast,” he said.
“It sends a message that we’re deserving of some better infrastructure and support.
I’m shaking with excitement and I think it’s a watershed moment for football on the Mid North Coast.
“Over the whole journey through the Jets regional visit it has just been greatly support by the community in general as well as the football community.
“The school visits, the breakfast visits and the clinics have been an outstanding success and I can’t thank the Jets enough.”
Prior to the game a Jets home FFA Cup match was mooted as a possibility, but the club needed to see there was support from the local community.
And they delivered.
“We’ve had a little bit of a conversation with Lawrie McKinna,” Parsons said.
“And he’s indicated that perhaps they would bring an FFA Cup game here if they get a home round next year and we’ll be holding Lawrie to that one,” Parsons said.
The FMNC chairman said the ground staff had also done a “fabulous job in preparing the ground and credit must go to them.”
“It was a rugby league field a few days ago and they’ve done their best to create a fairly good surface for an A-League match so we can’t thank them enough on behalf of Football Mid North Coast,” he said.
“It all goes well to the future of perhaps some code sharing and improved access to the stadium for our game.”