The Newcastle Jets have confirmed that Central Coast Mariners’ break out star, Matt Millar, has signed a two year deal with the Jets, which will come into effect from the beginning of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season.
In a media statement released by Newcastle Jets management on February 1, it was revealed that Jets’ Football Operations Manager, Joel Griffiths, led discussions with Millar and his management, advising the Mariners of his intention to negotiate via email, following December 1, 2018.
The announcement has sparked upset amongst Mariners fans who see the Jets as the club’s archrivals.
It was also believed to have caused dissent amongst Mariners players, management and Millar, with rumours of a verbal altercation between Millar and Head Coach, Mike Mulvey, resulting in Millar being sent home from a training session.
Mulvey fronted media following the Jets’ announcement to clarify the club’s position and to address the rumours surrounding Millar and the club.
“Matt was nowhere five months ago, looking for an opportunity.
“The Mariners gave him that opportunity and developed him into the player he is today, and now he’s decided that his future lies elsewhere and that’s it.
“What’s done is done,” Mulvey said.
Mulvey also denied any heated verbal altercation had taken place between himself and Millar in the week prior to the Jets signing announcement and confirmed Millar had indeed been sent home from a training session to reflect on whether or not he wanted to remain with the Mariners or sign with the Jets.
Mulvey also dismissed rumours that the Mariners had not fought to keep Millar on side, and refuted claims that the Mariners were unwilling to table an offer.
“I think Matt understood that we really wanted to keep him from a long time ago, not just now,” he said.
“We’re thinking about player retention now and for next season, and Matt Millar and his agent both knew very well that we wanted to keep him, we just didn’t have the opportunity to table the offer before he signed with the Jets.
“At the end of the day, the decision came down to Matt.
“Last week we gave him some time to think about what he wanted to do, and in the end, he felt he could be better developed by Newcastle,” Mulvey said.
The question now remains if Millar will play out the rest of the 2018/19 season with the Mariners, or if the club will release him from his contract early.
Following Mulvey’s press conference Jets’ CEO, Lawrie McKinna, has since confirmed that a clerical error may have been responsible for the seeming blindsiding acquisition of Millar.
According to McKinna, the Jets contacted the Mariners via email in December 2018 to advise they had entered into negotiations with Millar.
Despite using a contact list certified by the Football Federation of Australia, the Football Manager the Jets had advised of contract negotiations had not been working with the Mariners for some time.
This error is believed to have been the reason the Mariners were late to table an offer to Millar.
McKinna has since expressed his disappointment at the way the club’s latest signing had been revealed.
“Obviously we’re really excited to have signed Matt, he’s a fantastic young talent,” McKinna said.
“To be talking about it under these circumstances isn’t ideal, as we had intended to keep this quiet until the end of the season, out of respect for Matt and the Mariners.
“Joel (Griffiths) was completely transparent with the Mariners about our intentions to negotiate and we were able to put together an attractive package for Matt to join us here in Newcastle.
“We had extensive discussions with Matt and his management, and they liked what they saw, both on and off the park, here in Newcastle.
“Matt has handled himself exceptionally throughout this process, he’s an impressive young man and we wish him all the best for the remainder of the season,” McKinna said.
Press conference, Feb 1
Mike Mulvey, Central Coast Mariners
Media statement, Feb 1
Dilon Luke, Journalist