Victory member David Kay moved to Melbourne in 2005, four weeks before the inaugural A-League season.
Having grown up a supporter of his local club Sheffield United in England, David quickly gravitated to the new league and adopted Victory as his team down under.
17 years on, David is one of 45 individuals from 26 countries who will tonight become Australian citizens at a special ceremony in the AAMI Park function rooms.
The new Aussies will then grace the pitch pre-match for the national anthem.
“I’ve seen it every year and thought I’d really like to do that. I rung the Club up and found out it was possible so I’m extremely excited,” David says.
“The chance to get on the pitch is going to be great. I can’t wait.”
The citizenship ceremony is part of Victory’s annual U-NITE Multicultural Round, brought to you by WorkSafe, celebrating the different backgrounds of everyone involved with the Club who make it a special football family.
Victory has been a second home for David since his move from the UK and a way to integrate into a new community on the other side of the world.
“It was always going to be Victory for me,” David says.
“My wife is Australian, I met her in Spain and we lived together in the UK for a while before moving to Australia and getting married in November of 2005.
“I went to five or six games in the first year then first became a member in the second year. It was a good chance to meet some new people, socialise, and learn a bit about the Australian sporting culture.
“It was just getting out and about when you don’t know anyone and a good chance to get to know people.
“People from all over Australia seem to get together at Victory games. I see people from Asia, people from Lebanon, it’s a uniting thing – the one thing you all have the same is you’re wearing the same colours and cheering for the same team.”
As a Victory fan from day dot, David’s seen the euphoric highs and challenging lows of the Club over its history.
He says to see the team thriving again has been “fantastic”.
“There’s a long way to go but I feel like after two tough years we can now hold our heads up again. It’s extremely refreshing.”
The match against Sydney FC kicks off at 7:45pm at AAMI Park.