Kevin Armstrong and his wife Stephanie have been with Melbourne Victory since its second season.
An Irish import, Kevin did not grow up with the AFL as many Melburnians may have, but he understands how tough it can be for football to vie for the public’s attention.
“In Ireland we’ve got Gaelic sports, which are huge there, with the English League on our doorstep. So the local football leagues struggled.
“The AFL dominates the media here in Victoria, and we did follow some Irish players in the league early on, but Victory has become our team, especially for Stephanie. Victory is her first love when it comes to football.”
A long-time Liverpool fan and football follower, Kevin took a bit of interest when the Hyundai A-League first started.
“I wasn’t sure if my wife would really like the football, but we went to a few games casually the first season and she did like it! And so we signed up as members the next season.
“And then you’ve got the women’s team, once the women’s team was there, we were locked in.”
Kevin and his wife are particularly passionate about Victory’s W-League team.
“We’ve been banging the drum about the women’s team basically since it started. We have no personal connections on the team but we go to every game.”
While our women’s team has seen success in the last few seasons, it’s not just the wins that attract Kevin and his wife.
“The W-League team actually develops a lot of young players and we like that idea. From the very beginning Victory has always been a club that has identified, recruited and developed some of the biggest starts – local and imported—in the women’s game, even if we have not always been able to keep them.
“That alone would have always made us a team worth watching.”
As nearly all sporting teams do it tough during this time, Kevin hopes that, in particular, women’s football finds success.
“Their progress has been so good. The one thing the Victory women have always given down through the years, despite winning or losing seasons, is their effort. It’s been fantastic.
“They’ve always just really tried. They’re never hopeless. They might not have always been as good as they have been, but they always give 110% and that’s what you want to see and we’ve always loved that about them.”
When discussing any potential silver linings to this trying time in sport, Kevin is optimistic
“Hopefully Victory can play a leading role in helping the game – for males and females – survive and thrive at all levels. I’m excited for the potential rebuild that could come from all this. I expect them to be bigger and better than ever when they come back in the new season.”