NEWCASTLE Jets today named Matthew Thompson as skipper for the Asian Champions League in a major upheaval of who gets the captain's armband at the club.
In announcing Thompson as captain, the club also announced the captain's armband will be worn by the player with the most number of top-flight appearances for the club.
Versatile Thompson has currently appeared a Hyundai A-League record 92 times for the Jets, scoring 11 goals in the process.
Director of Football Remo Nogarotto said: "The club has looked at a variety of leadership models around the world and settled on a policy which it believes will promote loyalty and tradition.
"Everyone has a view about what constitutes the ideal captain and invariably it gets down to a personal opinion. This policy in our mind removes this subjectivity and institutionalises the honour for those players who, over a long period, have put the club first."
He added: "Probably the finest expression of this policy is AC Milan where the legendary Paolo Maldini continues to lead the club by virtue of his seniority.
"Brazilian great Kaka recently declared that one of his motivations for remaining at AC Milan in the face of an aggressive bid from Manchester City was to accumulate sufficient appearances to succeed Maldini one day as captain.
"Matt Thompson has been with us from day one. He has been a loyal and proud member of this club through its highs and lows.
"He embodies the sort of understated but important values that are representative of the Hunter and in recent times he has won belated recognition with the Socceroos.
"It is no surprise that a guy with these qualities ends up intersecting with this policy."
The appointment may come as a disappointment to new Jets signing Ljubo Milicevic who has been captain at most of the clubs he's played for and is a vocal force on the pitch.
But head coach Gary van Egmond said Thompson's appointment would create stability at the Jets.
"Obviously what we're looking to do with this decision is to instil a strong sense of tradition into the club," he said.
"In the bigger picture, the club represents a region that is a genuine football heartland in this country so this type of institution is a perfect fit for our club.
"On an individual basis, ‘Thomo' has excellent leadership qualities and fits the bill nicely. He has the respect of the players, has an excellent attitude toward training and playing, and has recently made his way into the national team setup.
"We now have a good blend of youth and experience within the squad, and it will be good to see ‘Thomo' lead this side into what is an exciting time in our club's history."