Former Newcastle Jets defender Taylor Regan goes 1v1 with the PFA to discuss the difficulties of last season at the club, why there needs to be more support for players in transition and his hopes for his the next contract.

Q. Last season was one of huge turmoil at the Jets; was there any inkling ahead of the season of what was to follow?

TR: When we gathered for pre-season last year there was a lot of optimism and we had senior players like Adrian Madaschi, Kew Jaliens, Joel Griffiths and David Carney leading the way in preseason and it was exciting and everyone was expecting big things. We didn’t start too bad but results didn’t go our way and instead of everyone banding together, the place just fell apart. What happened half-way through was the icing on the cake. To have the senior players, and the ones we looked up to, thrown under the bus like that was really difficult to take. It was really hard for the fans as they couldn’t see everything that was happening and it came across as if we weren’t trying. That was disappointing as the boys were trying their hardest, things just weren’t working due to a lack of direction.


Q. How difficult was it to play in that environment?

 TR: Lots of people talk about the financial side of things at the club and that was really hard but equally tough was the lack of harmony in the whole club.


Q. You were thrust into a leadership role and seemed intent on pulling everyone together; was that tough to do considering what had happened to your teammates?

TR: It was difficult, there was no doubt that mid-way through the season that the coaching staff and the players were divided. It was sort of a sore point to take the captaincy and it might have looked like I was supporting the coaching staff but the reason I took it was simple – I’m a Newcastle boy and I thought I could help the young boys. We had lost all our senior players and I thought if I can keep the group together gets us united we can get through.


Q. You are born and breed in the Hunter and you coach the emerging Jets U15 team; was the treatment of players such as David Carney and Joel Griffiths damaging to the club’s image in the region?

TR: If you go to a Newcastle Jets game you see Griffiths and Carney on the back of people’s shirts and the club needs players like them to succeed. I coach the emerging Jets and these kids were having their heroes publicly sacked. It was hugely damaging.


Q. You got through a difficult period and it seemed highly likely that you were staying at the club; what changed?

TR: It was very difficult. With about ten to twelve games left I had a meeting with not only the coaching staff but the club management and it was said that they wanted me around and we will look after you and then we basically agreed to terms on what would have secured me at the club for the next few years. It was very exciting for me, I’m a Newcastle boy born and breed, I was getting married four weeks after the season finished.

Even up until the last game of the season of the season they kept telling me the deal was coming, maybe I showed a bit too much trust in certain people but when I walked into a meeting on a Tuesday morning to be told ‘they are sorry and know they did the wrong thing but they are no longer able to give a me contract’ it was shattering. I had gone from not getting my agent to make any calls to having one more pay packet then nothing after that and having no idea what was next.


Q. You were one of 70 A-League players that were free agents as of June 1; do you think people understand how difficult that time can be for players?

TR: It is not like the rest of the world, where there are different tiers of competitions. In Australia if you don’t have that next deal you have to leave the country and that can be daunting. We all know the football world is hostile and that your next game could be your last and we respect that but at the same time your future is in the hands of one or two individuals and that is hard.

I’m 26 and I can take it but for a young kids that comes out of contract at 20-21 years old and have been unfairly treated where do they go next? And how do they keep faith in the game after they have had people not respect them? For the fans out there that don’t quite understand it can be very hostile and sometimes you think a different career is the way to go because at least then you will have some type of security.


Q. Do you think the code does enough to support players during transition?

TR: Emily (PFA Player Development Manager at the Newcastle Jets) has been brilliant, not only for me but for all the players and she is a great example of some of the great people we are lucky to have in football. I can’t talk for everyone but my biggest disappointment was that I was promised something and then told at the last minute it is not there anymore and that made it so hard as I didn’t have that same time to look around and look at my options.

I don’t think clubs realise how important that transition is out of the game or to other clubs. The PFA has worked tirelessly to make it easier on the players but there is still a gap there and I don’t believe the clubs and FFA respect the PFA enough. Too many people go into a dark place when football ends and we need to eradicate that.


Q. Finally, what next?

TR: I would love to get into Asia. At the moment there are a few things happening and I’m looking to explore those. I will leave Australia, which is hard but that is what I have to do to earn a living. I would love to start a young family but until I get my future secured that is not an option.


Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with a current or former player to gain an insight into the lives of professional footballers on and off the pitch.