New general manager of Football Far North Coast Steve Mackney, left, and former Socceroos captain and SBS sports presenter, Goonellabah’s Craig Foster.
New general manager of Football Far North Coast Steve Mackney, left, and former Socceroos captain and SBS sports presenter, Goonellabah’s Craig Foster. David Nielsen

The Thistle of Football Far North Coast

IT’S BEEN the worst kept secret in the local soccer fraternity but former Thistles club president Steve Mackney has been appointed as the new general manager of Football Far North Coast.

Mackney, who doesn’t officially start in the role until January 27, takes over from Matt Kelso, who spent eight years in what is one of the Far North Coast’s only full-time sporting administration positions.

The 48-year-old Mackney beat a field of about 20 applicants for the job including a couple from overseas.

He’s also enlisted the help of some influential people including former Goonellabah player, Socceroo star and SBS sports presenter Craig Foster and his brother Paul, a youth coach based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Mackney is well-known to most people in the local sporting community, having spent time in voluntary positions in sports as wide ranging as cricket, swimming, rugby union, hockey and baseball.

His mother is Marie Mackney, who became the inaugural life member of the Lismore Netball Association, and who had the courts in Ballina Street named in her honour.

“I am under no illusions, there are enormous expectations for me to live up to and I hope I’m up to it,” Mackney said.

Mackney said he was looking forward to the challenge of the position and had proposed a broad vision of soccer’s future on the Far North Coast.

“I have skills but I am not an expert at anything,” he said. “What I believe is that I’m very good at knowing my limitations but just as importantly knowing who to go to get the right advice and support.

“My concern is as much for the five-year-old or the six-year-old starting out for the for first time this season up to the player whose intention is to become the best player in the world.

Mackney also brings to the job a sense fair play, as the father of the referee Luke Mackney, who had a beer can thrown at him during the infamous grand final between Italo Stars and Richmond Rovers in 2007.

 “I have a history as a straight shooter, someone who calls it as it is,” he said.


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