In the world of football it is ordinarily young boys and girls who accompany a professional team onto the pitch ahead of a big match.
Junior player mascots have become a regular --- even expected --- sight in every corner of the globe.
However this Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium Newcastle Jets will take a somewhat different approach to the regular pre-match routine by replacing children with some of the Club’s elderly Members for its Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season Round 9 clash with Sydney FC.
Inspired by leading Swedish Allsvenskan side AIK Stockholm who led the way with the initiative in September, the Jets will recognise some of its most loyal supporters --- many of whom have been aficionados of the local game for decades.
One such Member who will enter the pitch alongside a member of Mark Jones’ starting eleven is 81-year-old Barbara Kynaston.
Barbara is happy that the Club is demonstrating inclusiveness and taking time to recognise a broader cross section of its fan base.
“It is a great idea to recognise people that have supported the Club for a long time and are stalwarts of the Club and the community,” Barbara, who counts Club sponsor Andy Roberts from Gentlemen’s Outfitters as her all time favourite Newcastle player, said.
“It will be a great honour for me. I have been a Member since the first year of the (Hyundai) A-League and before that with the Breakers and KB United, but this is a first for me!”
“This shows that all supporters are important,” she concluded.
As well as recognising senior Jets Members this Sunday, the Jets will acknowledge some of the communities local heroes.
NSW Fire & Rescue, the local area Police and charity partner and matchday sponsor Life Without Barriers will each have activations at Sunday’s match.
Life Without Barriers is one of Australia’s largest charities and was founded in Newcastle.