Why Nikolai Topor-Stanley is impossible to hate

-

A seasoned veteran, a defensive unit and an overall top bloke. Nikolai Topor-Stanley captured the eternal affection of Newcastle Jets Supporters and for good reason – to question otherwise is blasphemy.

The 35-year-old continues to stand the test of time. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly afros and beards, Topor-Stanley has remained a consistent force in the Jets’ backline.

When he initially joined Newcastle from Perth Glory, the ACT-born centre back was already regarded as a promising player – but even the most staunch supporters would not have predicted he would still be playing with the Jets 12 years later: become an example on and off the pitch for both teammates and fans alike.

So what it is that makes “The Hyphen” so damn likeable?

Embed from Getty Images

You can’t get rid of him. Literally, we tried!

Although he left at the start of 2012, Topor-Stanley was welcomed back in 2017 with open arms and demonstrated undying loyalty to the team.

In the 2017/18 and 2018/19 A-League campaigns, he played 5,040 minutes. To put those numbers simply, Topor-Stanley played the full 90 minutes of every game in those two season. This effort also carried into the 2019/20 season where he only missed one match all season.

He’s cemented himself as a staple to the squad despite a dreaded retirement date looming down the track.

Seriously, check out the number. Topor-Stanley made his debut 15 years ago, has over 320 A-League appearances, is second in the list of most appearances for both Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers, and here we are in 2021 still cheering him on.

You can still teach an old dog new tricks

In recent A-League years there’s been a larger push for youth to play in first grade and while fresh talent is an incredible asset, the Jets veteran is a living reminder of the value of experience. 

There is hardly a game where Nikolai Topor-Stanley is not showcasing his grit, durability and strength. 

Amongst the speed of young-guns like Sydney FC’s Trent Buhagiar, the 35-year-old stands as an impenetrable fortress, rivalling pace with quick-wits and resilience. 

Embed from Getty Images

His trophy cabinet is bursting at the seams

While it is not uncommon for veterans to have a couple of pieces of silverware, our hero takes this to another level.

His individual accolades are nothing but impressive with three Player of the Year awards. What makes this achievement even more significant? They were all for three different clubs, with Topor-Stanley taking the top gong at Perth Glory, Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets.

In fact, he has a host of individual accolades including Perth Glory Players’ Player, Perth Glory Young Player of the Year, Wanderers Members Player of the Year and of course 2019/20 A-League Goal of the Season.

He’s also won the A-League Premiership and the AFC Champions League, just don’t ask him about his three Grand Final runners-up medals.

Embed from Getty Images

They can never tear us apart – Ask the fans!

Nikolai Topor-Stanley is the heart, joy and soul of the Newcastle Jets. His heroics are continuously transpiring off the field.

The legendary defender is dubbed a ‘cult hero’ because of his notorious casual demeanour.

His friendly and humble attitude makes him approachable with fans, making room for conversations, photos, football tips or even a drink at Newcastle pubs. 

Admit it, even if he has a bad game or is a tough opponent to play against he’s easily the most forgivable and without a doubt the most loveable A-League player.

The Jets Supporter’s can back me up on this… 

“I can’t physically put it into words. But I love him more than my misso” – Josh Caldwell.

“My favourite Jets player ever! When he retires, I wish they would retire #44” – Cam Selby.

“I think 29th February should forever be known as NTS day after his rocket against Perth last year” – Mickey Skehan.

“A couple of years ago we took 30 kids from the outback to Hindmarsh. NTS was their favourite. He came over for pictures after the game and made their day. Great role model” – David Deacon.

“My son did his defensive coaching class with Jobe Wheelhouse and he got so much out of the day. And Topor was happy to sit and chat and offer advice on all parts of the game. He was so patient with all the questions” – Lynn Sparks.

Feature image credit: Sproule Sports Focus

 

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Jemma Pepper
Jemma Pepper
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2020/21 season. Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Germany) at the University of Technology Sydney. Seven days without playing football can make one weak!

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required