When the Newcastle Jets won the grand final in 2008, Andy Roberts wore a custom-made gold suit to the match.
Back then, of course, the Jets wore gold.
For Saturday’s grand final, Andy will wear the special suit again.
“I haven’t worn it since and it still fits. It’s the lucky suit that got them over the line in 2008 and it’ll get them over the line in 2018.”
Andy is a football legend in Newcastle. He played a club record 234 games for the Newcastle Jets and Newcastle United. He was a defender who was nicknamed “the General”.
“Don’t forget my four goals – one from inside my own half,” Andy said.
A bit like that famous David Beckham goal?
“It was,” Andy said, with a laugh.
Andy’s business, Gentlemen’s Outfitters at Charlestown has sponsored the Jets since the A-League started in 2005, providing the club with suits and corporate wear.
“I’m there week-in, week-out,” he said.
He paid tribute to Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna and football operations manager Joel Griffiths, along with coach Ernie Merrick and the players.
“This region has gone through some tough times in the last little while. It’s really special they got to this stage,” he said.
He said the players and staff were “90 minutes away from writing themselves into history and folklore”.
“When you’re on your home turf, you’ve just got to play the game, not the occasion. Don’t get caught up in too much hype because you can tire yourself out in the lead-up to the game with nervous energy.
“I think Ernie’s got a lid on that and he’s keeping it low-key. They’re professionals, they’ve got their own routines and ways they prepare for games.”
Andy said he had superstitions and traditions before a game.
He had to be third in line going on to the pitch. And in the tunnel, he’d yell “come on boys, no petrol”.
“No petrol meant you gave everything you had. You left nothing in the tank.”
‘Aaron must call the game’
The ABC’s Aaron Kearney has been calling Newcastle Jets games since day one of the A-League, including last Friday’s epic victory.
But he won’t be calling Saturday’s grand final against Melbourne Victory.
We should say that Aaron will give expert commentary from the sideline during the broadcast, but the ABC will send another commentator from Sydney to call the game.
This decision has produced a good-old fashioned Novocastrian backlash.
Louise Wilkinson posted on Facebook her letter to ABC Grandstand, saying it was an “insult not only to Aaron but to the thousands of Novocastrians who have tuned in to his call for many years”.
“I know many will agree with me when I say his passion and knowledge travels down the airwaves and transports us to the ground with vivid imagery.”
Kurt Fearnley joined in, tweeting that Aaron “must call the game!!!”.
“Either that or we need to get the world’s largest conference call dialling into his mobile!!” he joked.
An ABC spokesman said: “Everyone at ABC Grandstand agrees that Aaron Kearney is a superb commentator and a great supporter of Newcastle football.
“We couldn’t imagine a grand final featuring Newcastle without Aaron’s involvement.”
“Please be assured that Aaron will be playing a leading role in our A-League grand final coverage, providing sideline commentary and interviews with the players and managers.”
The ABC said it had selected “the voice of football on Grandstand, Ned Hall, to make the play-by-play call”.
“We have partnered Ned with former Socceroo captain Paul Wade, who also has a strong national profile,” it said.
It made this decision, in part, because the match would attract “a large national audience, particularly from the Victory’s home town of Melbourne”.