Thurgate: I’m not a fan of my Pelè nickname

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Homegrown Northern New South Wales product Angus Thurgate has been dubbed the ‘Port Macquarie Pelè’ and while the nickname is accredited to his skill, the Newcastle Jets player dislikes the comparison.

He said the name had become something his friends joked about.

“I’m not a fan of it at all and I’m not encouraging it by any means,” he said.

“I’m not sure who started it but I hear it everywhere I go now and even my mates joke about it.”

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The name began surfacing in the 2018-2019 season, when the young-gun was having his first real taste of the A-League competition. 

Former Jets coach Ernie Merrick brought the nickname into the spotlight as tribute to the then 19-year-old’s standout performance in their 6-1 victory over Brisbane Roar.

While many would be humbled by the resemblance with a Brazilian legend, Thurgate believes there is only one name suited to him.

“I’ll just stick with Angus Thurgate. It’s nice and clean,” he said. 

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Despite the Jet’s midfielder opposing the title, the Northern NSW athlete is aware of how influential it can be for rural-based Australians looking to pursue their professional football careers. 

“If I keep playing well and playing consistently, then I can definitely inspire some young kids out there,” he said.

As the nickname states, Thurgate grew up in Port Macquarie, about three hours north of Newcastle. 

His career began with Football Mid North Coast before taking the risk to play under the blue-and-red badge. 

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Since cementing his position as the starting central midfielder for the Jets, his first club has continued to develop regional training hubs which he acknowledged.

“In the last few years, it has come a long way in terms of opportunities for kids in rural areas and also in Newcastle,” Thurgate said.

“If the kids want it enough, they got to put in the work. There is now a pathway to become a professional footballer.”

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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!

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