So this got me thinking as to the monetary cost involved for me to follow my team, the Newcastle Jets, to the extent that I have chosen.
|Opening night of A League, Jets v Adelaide, 26 Aug 2005.|
Since that very first A League game back on August 26, 2005. When the Jets went down at home to Adelaide United 1-0, I have only missed 2 home fixtures out of 73 games played not including this current season. One of those was in season 3 when Steely Dan played at Bimbagen Estate, a band I had waited to see for over 20 years. The other was in season 6 when I was trapped in the Queensland floods whilst trying to get to the airport to return to Newcastle for a derby game against the Mariners. In the first couple of seasons I mainly stuck to home games plus trips to Central Coast and Sydney, but from season 3 on I started branching out to the Melbourne and Queensland games too. Season 5 of the A League, 2009/2010 also incorporated the Asian Champions League for the first time for the Newcastle Jets. A home and away series between clubs from China, South Korea and Japan was scheduled before the commencement of season 5. This is when I decided to take advantage of the situation and use the ACL as an excuse to travel. So in March 2009 I was on a plane to Beijing with my cousin Kyel and my friend Natalie. The experience of being one of the few supporters in gold at the Workers Stadium filled with over 30,000 screaming Beijing Guoan supporters decked in green was an experience I'll never forget, at least until dementia sets in! On the way to the ground we couldn't go 10 metres without being stopped by smiling Beijing fans wanting a photo with us.
|On the way to Workers Stadium, Beijing|
|Moments before kick off.|
|A typical street in Ulsan, South Korea.|
|Approx 1,800 at the 55,000 seated Ulsan Stadium on a Tuesday|
After my 2 Asian adventures I decided I was going to keep travelling to watch my team. The A League season kicked off in August and between then and December I had been to matches in Gosford, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney twice. Then in January 2010 I moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Six days after arriving in Queensland I flew back to Newcastle to watch the Jets defeat Melbourne Victory 3-2. The following week I had driven down to Brisbane, a week later on the 24th January was back in Newcastle for a home game, flew to Newcastle then drove to Gosford for a match on the 6th February that was postponed an hour before kick off due to rain. I then had to fly back to Queensland at 6am the following morning and open the Pizza joint I owned at 11am that day. I then flew back for the final home game of the season on the 12th February before driving to the Gold Coast the following week to watch them play in a semi final. All up that season the cost of Airfare, Accommodation, fuel, airport parking and my season ticket for home games cost a grand total of $11,799.00, the bulk of which of course was on the 2 overseas trips.
Season 6 of the A League, 2010/2011 I spent the entire year living on the Sunshine Coast. As I stated earlier, the only home game I missed that season was a 2-0 loss to Central Coast as I was stuck at Maroochydore after the great Queensland floods. That season I also travelled to games in Melbourne twice, Sydney once, Gosford, Brisbane and Gold Coast. The grand total on the same expenses as the previous season was $3,717.00. None of those figures include spending money, food and drink etc. So as you can see being a travelling supporter in a National Competition can be a very expensive hobby. On the other hand though I have had the pleasure of experiencing other cultures, and travel to great Australian cities like Melbourne and Brisbane regularly. (Yes I think Brisbane is great, particularly West End!) I've been able to live out a childhood dream and commentate on a match broadcast live to air, meet wonderful people within the club and league heirachy as well as fans of all teams, and watch a game I love in some of the best stadiums in Australia and Asia.
If I wasn't a fan I think my life would be pretty dull......That's why I do it!
|Commentating with Aaron Kearney on the Jets ACL match v Ulsan Korea|