F3 flag-gate: Newcastle CEO McKinna on hilarious FFA Cup break-in

Footballer, coach, mayor, chief executive officer, and now, master infiltrator. 

Newcastle Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna has always been a flag-bearer for the lighter side of football.

And the discerning public sure got a reminder of that on Wednesday night when McKinna and partner-in-crime Joel Griffiths unfurled a Jets banner in the grandstand of their arch-rivals, Central Coast Mariners.

Television footage captured the pair unveiling the 10-metre tifo, which reads 'Newcastle: A Class Above', shortly before kick off the Mariners' FFA Cup 2019 Semi Final defeat to Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium.

It wasn't quite Graeme Souness planting a Galatasaray flag in the middle of the Fenerbahce pitch after the Turkish Cup Final of 1996, but the successful break-in is sure to light the fuse between the two F3 rivals before their meeting at the same venue on October 19.

"It's a pretty good flag - I think it looks fantastic," McKinna told www.aleague.com.au.

"The two boys at the bottom were actually Newcastle Jets fans who caught the train down to watch the game. I said, 'do you want to be on TV?'

"I've had this idea for a while, living on the coast. I would've liked to get a flag down saying 'We Are Coming', ahead of the derby game. We also thought about getting the security guards to come in and get us chucked out. 

Will the tifo return in the first F3 Derby of Season 2019/20? Book your seat to find out.

"It's good we had Joel there because he was hated by the Mariners fans. I'm fortunate in that I went to the game last night and everybody was friendly! I live and breathe for this kind of thing. You have to be able to laugh at yourself."

Griffiths, part of the Jets team who beat their local rivals in the 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final, could be seen in the top right hand corner of the screen performing the 'floss', a somewhat provocative dance move popularised by the video game Fortnite.

McKinna revealed the ex-striker and former Caltex Socceroo had been told on the morning to floss by his son, Billy.

The heist was not a complete success for the Jets CEO, who was held up at the roundabout exit of Central Coast Stadium after full time due to traffic congestion.

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The 58-year-old promised the flag would make another appearance soon - and revealed the Jets 'would certainly strengthen' their squad ahead of Season 2019/20 kick off.

Newcastle will be without star playmaker Wes Hoolahan and striker Kaine Sheppard until 2020 after serious ankle and foot injuries respectively.

"We are looking but Ernie (Jets boss Merrick) is quite happy with what we've got at the moment. We certainly need to strengthen the squad somewhere along the line. 

"The two injuries were so unfortunate. We're looking at a few options."

F3 Derby
The Jets travel to Central Coast Mariners on October 19, the season's first F3 Derby