THE Newcastle Jets are searching for a new football operations manager after the recent resignation of Nicholas Deluca for family reasons.
Deluca, who joined the Jets two years ago after roles with North Queensland Fury and Melbourne Heart, is the latest official to move on after the mid-season departures of chief executive Robbie Middleby, chairman Ray Baartz and Hunter Sports Group chief executive Troy Palmer.
According to Deluca’s LinkedIn profile, his job description involves team and stadium operations and logistics, contract negotiations, and ensuring the Jets comply with Football Federation Australia regulations, in particular in relation to the salary cap.
Jets chief executive Mitchell Murphy said Deluca, whom he described as a ‘‘dedicated and important employee’’, would continue working for the club until a replacement was in place.
Deluca said his decision to leave was purely about putting his family first.
Since he joined the Jets, his wife and baby daughter have remained living in Melbourne and he has rarely seen them more than fortnightly.
‘‘I need to reset my priorities, which is to focus on being a good husband and a good dad,’’ Deluca told the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday night.
‘‘We have one child and I’ve missed her first birthday, her first words and all the little things we as parents take for granted.
‘‘I get the industry demands you to make sacrifices, and I’ve made those, but at the same time I desperately miss my daughter.
‘‘Three weeks ago during our nightly Skype conversation she chose to watch the Wiggles instead of speaking to her dad.
‘‘That was the last straw.
‘‘It’s time to go home.’’
He said it was a ‘‘tough call’’ to leave the Jets.
‘‘I’ve really grown to love the club and the city,’’ he said. ‘‘Newcastle offers so much more than I originallyanticipated before I took the role.
‘‘It’s going to be hard to say goodbye.
‘‘I will miss the people within the club, the volunteers and the fans whom I’ve grown quite fond of.’’
Murphy said Deluca would continue working for the Jets until a ‘‘suitable replacement’’ had been appointed.
‘‘That process is well advanced,” Murphy said.
‘‘We certainly value Nicholas’ contribution during his tenure with the Jets, and he knows that he will always be welcome at Hunter Stadium and in our offices.’’
Murphy said he would now assume responsibility for negotiating player contracts as the Jets set about filling a host of vacancies on the club’s roster for next season.
The Herald understands that two members of Newcastle’s office staff have also handed in their resignations and that Murphy would be looking to fill those positions, possibly after an internal restructure.