There's no denying that Arthur Papas has a big job on his hands at A-League club Newcastle Jets.
The head coach has taken over a struggling team that won just five games last season, and were only pipped to the wooden spoon by Melbourne Victory.
The Jets still don’t have a new owner, the club hasn’t made the finals since 2018 and they have finished in the top six just once in the past decade.
Papas has come in and change has been swift – 17 players have gone and 15 new faces have come in, headlined by Socceroo Matt Jurman and five new foreign imports.
The overhaul has come off the field too, with new assistant coaches and technical staff, as the squad learns a totally new style of play.
For Papas, who has spent the past four years working in Saudi Arabia, India and in Japan under Ange Postecoglou, the opportunity was there not just to return to Australia but also to come back to a club that he holds a unique connection with.
The 41-year-old spent the 2011-2012 season with Newcastle, coaching the youth team and assisting Gary van Egmond, and understands the potential that exists with the Hunter.
“Coming back was a personal decision more than a professional decision, as I was really enjoying my work in Japan,” the Melburnian told FTBL.
“But the world where it’s at today, especially between those two countries, made it difficult to stay there and still have the ability to see family – which I hadn’t seen for two and a half years. So that was really the driving force to coming home.
“And then I’ve always had a special relationship with Newcastle from 10 years ago. So for me, it was an opportunity to keep doing what I love, to come here and try and make an impact for the people of Newcastle.
“That’s something that’s driving me immensely, to try and do something for the people here. I think we’ve got amazing supporters that when the team is doing well it’s definitely one of the best supported in the league.
“So that’s now the journey that it’s on, you don’t want to look too far ahead, you just want to concentrate and do well and hopefully have some success.”
The Jets have flirted more with disaster than success during their A-League history, and Papas is seeking to break that cycle.
It will not happen overnight, but the former Oakleigh Cannons and Green Gully boss has the support of the Jets faithful to make the changes necessary.
“I’ll stick to the way I think is to build teams and ultimately try and improve clubs,” the Postecoglou protégé said.
“That’s important to me. When this place is in a good situation with the men’s team a lot of things flow from that – but has it happened enough?
"Really it’s happened once in 10 years.
“The objective is not to just try and create a team for one season, because I think that’s been done before, it’s how it is possible to build stability in the club to take it forward and create some stronger identities as well.”