At 66, John Cucé is a 13-year Gold Member.
However, he does not come from a football-fanatical family. In fact, John rather stumbled upon the Hyundai A-League due to work obligations.
“I had never, ever…ever been to an A-League game before Victory. Although I am a big football fan on a European, world game scale, I only ever attended one domestic competition and that was before the A-League started.
“What got me going on Victory, was in my corporate days, we used to a do a lot of corporate entertainment and I was given four tickets to take some clients out to go and see a Victory game at Olympic Park way back in 2006. And it was just an incredible feeling, the atmosphere and everything else.”
An MCC member, John was a mad AFL fan, standard to Melbourne. But he recalls there being something special about that first game and he continued to go back again and again.
“I kept taking clients out and I thought this is pretty good. And soon after that I became a member. It was just the feeling in the air and the participation…I felt as if, despite my age, that I was part of the game.
In addition to his corporate clients, John slowly started to bring along friends and family, rallying them around his newfound love.
“We now have a group of around 15 people that go along. We’re all Premium A members and we occupy three rows. It’s great. I’ve even got my accountant coming with me as well!
“It’s not just about the game…we arrange to have a meal beforehand and the beauty of this social aspect is we talk about politics, sports, world affairs…the game brings people together.
“I look around sometimes at the games, and I look at the crowd and I see a much younger audience of spectators and also a wider diversity of faces, which is really representative of Melbourne.”
John explains that the glue that holds his group together is that all of them were touched by the game overseas, one way or another.
“Like me, none of these people had ever been to an A-League game before. Some of them may not have even attended a game or seen one on TV, but they knew about the game. We are all novices to this.
“It’s not as if I have this legacy or background of father and grandfather going to games, it’s just started with me.”
While John has a great appreciation for the world game and the more established leagues abroad, it’s hard to beat elite level football right at home.
“The A-League is in my backyard. I don’t have to wake up at 4’o-clock in the morning to watch a game on television overseas. I can watch it live in the comfort of my own stadium. And to be completely honest with you, the technical level is pretty good.
“People often make reference to European leagues, but I truly believe not many other leagues that come after that are that much better than the A-League. What those leagues do have is history, and that is just something we’ll have to wait for.
Reflecting on his thirteen seasons with Victory, aside from the various Grand Final wins and spectacular Archie Thompson goals over the years, John most fondly remembers a more unique experience.
“I was able to experience firsthand the 2015 Asian Cup we had here in Australia. I actually volunteered for that tournament as a protocol officer for the organising committee and that was a wonderful opportunity I had, hosting foreign countries and dignitaries, ambassadors and ministers and members of Parliament.
“I would have never done that if I hadn’t joined Victory and got to experience the game.”
John’s encounter and now familiarity with the game is what brings him back each season.
“The entertainment of the team and the games give me high expectations, and it’s great to celebrate the team as a group.
“These friendships that I have, our membership bonds us together.”