The Perfect Homecoming

Saturday 20 July will be a big day for me and something I never thought would happen.

You can get your tickets to the Wanderers match against Leeds United here. 

I started supporting Leeds United after the 1998 World Cup, the tournament which really kick-started my interest in football.

Later that year, English Premier League highlights were broadcast in prime time.

I wanted to follow one of the teams, but as a person who likes to do things differently, supporting one of the clubs that people from Australia usually support didn't interest me. 

Leeds had a young manager at the time (David O'Leary) and they played nice people. 

The squad was full of talent with the likes of Lee Bowyer, Nigel Martyn, Lucas Radebe, and Dominic Matteo.

Of course, there was also Western Sydney boy Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka as well - it didn't hurt that two of the best Aussie footballers were at the club.

As we all know, things went downhill for Leeds, however, that didn't put me off - I got a tattoo two years after they got relegated from the Premier League.

Harry Kewell


The opportunity to watch them in Australia was never really something I hoped for. 

Leeds did visit back in 2003, but I wasn't able to go to Melbourne for the game so creativity was needed if I wanted to watch them play.

Eight years ago, my mum and I were planning to visit my sister who was studying in Spain. 

Mum was planning to spend a few days in London beforehand and I said "that's close enough to Leeds, let's do a day trip!"

The game was literally the focus of the whole day: a three-hour train ride from London to Leeds in the morning, a taxi to Elland Road, watching the game and then heading straight back to London. (We beat Portsmouth 1-0, by the way).

Elland Road


Obviously, it means a lot that not only are they coming back to Australia for the first time in 16 years but also that they're playing the Wanderers in the first football game at the new stadium.

I worked part-time in the Wanderers community department for two and a half years (shout-out to Josh Hunter and Anthony Siciliano) and really enjoyed my time there.

These days I'm fortunate enough to still be involved, helping run production of digital content for the Wanderers Youth Team so hopefully some of the Academy kids get a run on the night.

I'm really grateful to the club for these opportunities and they've even opened new doors for me - I've recently started covering the NPL 2 Men's competition for Football NSW. 

Wanderland


It would be fantastic if there was a large contigent of Leeds fans at the game.

We are well recognised in Australia - at least, judging by the number of people who try to banter me about my tattoo.

For me, this is the perfect way to welcome the Wanderers back home to Parramatta.