When the Newcastle Jet’s won the A-league Grand-Final in 2008, I had never set foot in the Squadron. I had been to Jet’s games, I remember Nicky Carle’s length of the field goal against Adelaide, and Tarek’s rocket against the Roar to take us to that fateful day. I had never, however, stood and sung for My team.
Fast-forward seven years and the easiest way to find me on match day is to look for the bloke with a megaphone. Week in, Week out, I stand in front of a band of supporters who want to sing for their team. Being the current Squadron Capo, I spend my match encouraging this rowdy group to sing jump and dance for 90minutes.
Days leading up to a match are usually spent spray painting in my garage to create displays to be shown in the Squadron’s bay. Time is spent talking with other senior members of the Squadron organising match day plans, or looking weeks in advance to our next home game and how we can create the best atmosphere possible.
For much of the time I have spent involved with the Squadron since ’08, Newcastle has not had a team that I could honestly say deserve the time I, and others, have spent supporting them. Two last place finishes, and only one finals appearance are not what this city deserve, nor does it encourage people to go out of their way to support the team.
In spite of the circumstances, in spite of the situation that supporters of the Jet’s have been put in that they could not control, the Squadron has endured. I won’t tell lies and say it has been easy. Holding together key individuals to keep the group alive has been difficult. We have seen people move on, entire generations and groups disappear, however we have always been there, singing for the club.
This season, despite it’s early days, is different. The faces from last season are back. The Squadron has made year on year growth for the first time since the Grandfinal. I have the pleasure of greeting mates in the bay, people who I have shared emotions with, people who have been through the pain and suffering I have. We made it through the Tinkler era, and looking back at that tunnel we are stronger out the other side.
Friday night was one of those occasions that I will mark among the best as a Jet’s fan. That win against the reigning champions was more than 3 points. That win was the turning point in the culture of the players, the fans, and of our club. We may not have a team that will win every week, but we finally have a team that will give their all to play for the shirt. This will be the difference between this year and every single one of the previous seven.
This year, if you have not previously, I hope that I can encourage you to sing, wherever you sit around the ground.
As for me, I sing for this city, I sing for this club, I sing for it’s fans, and I sing for the 11 players on the pitch.