Skipper Andrew Durante ‘surprises’ Members Reward Loyalty Winner

Kerry, an eleven-season foundation member from Stokes Valley got a pretty exciting phone call on Monday night.

“I was actually just hanging out the washing,” he told Phoenix. “Stunned. I never win anything, especially something like this! It was a total surprise – it’s come at a really good time for us as a family.”

Last Saturday he took up the club’s call to honour skipper Andrew Durante’s record-equalling 278th Hyundai A-League appearance by bringing two friends along to Westpac Stadium.

“A workmate of mine, and a friend from my wife’s work who’s really into football – so they came along and had a blast, even if the result didn’t go our way, they still had a good time.”

An early convert, it was the Yellow Fever that first got Kerry really passionate about attending Phoenix games.

“I went to the very first pre-season game, and it got me hooked. Me and my mate were sitting way up the other end at the stadium, away from where the Yellow Fever were sitting, and we heard them and thought – we’re in.

“I can’t even remember who we were playing that day, but the atmosphere was amazing – I heard the singing, the chanting and I just joined up the next day.”

These days Kerry sits in the Fever Zone. They mightn’t look too flash on TV when they’ve got their shirts off, but Kerry reckons they’re a pretty decent bunch.

“It’s the atmosphere, and pretty much everyone gets along. I go with a couple of friends, we’ve been going for about six or seven years, and they’ve got hooked too. There’s a pretty core group standing in the same area … it’s a really good time.”

The kick off times aren’t always the friendliest, but when it's suitable his four-year-old daughter, Sophie, has started joining him on matchdays.

“She absolutely loves it, she stands there, she chants, does the clapping, sings ‘Same old Aussies, always cheating’ – that’s the one chant she’s picked up!”

After attending the Phoenix’s Round 18 match against Adelaide United last Saturday night, Kerry was randomly selected to win $4000 – a thank you to our loyal fans who have been with the club through thick and thin.

And after an excited conversation with his wife, Kerry reckons they’ve already got a plan for what to do with the money.

“My wife is Brazilian, so we plan to take my daughter back to Brazil so she can meet all her relatives. She’s only four so hasn’t left the country, so it would be amazing for her to go over next Christmas.”

In the early days Kerry used to travel in from Paraparaumu to watch the Phoenix play. It’s a bit easier a trip these days, but even despite the ups and downs, he’s still excited to support the club.

“I love just watching the Phoenix, whether that’s at the stadium or on TV. We’ve always got that room for improvement, but we’ve also always got that upset in us, like against Newcastle the other week.

“I just love watching football, and I’m so happy to have a team in New Zealand, and in Wellington to support.”

When Dura walks into the café to surprise Kerry, he seems to play it pretty cool.

“Kerry,” Dura introduces himself. “Congratulations buddy, you have just won yourself $4000! We really appreciate your support – you’ve been a member for a long time.”

“Oh cheers, hey,” says Kerry as Dura hands him the cheque.

“Mate, you don’t looked too surprised.”

“Well,” Kerry pauses, almost embarrassed, “I saw you walking down the street out the window.”

The two share a laugh, before discussing some of the upcoming games.

“I’d like to thank you though, Dura. A few games ago you and Dylan [Fox] signed my daughter’s shirt for her after the game, she’s absolutely wrapped.”

Not the big surprise perhaps, but a nice moment, and still a pretty good afternoon for one lucky but very deserving Phoenix fan.

 

 

Kerry, 48, Phoenix fan

Favourite chant: Oh Wellington.

Membership status: Yellow Fever, Foundation member for the past eleven seasons.

Favourite Phoenix memory: Paul Ifill’s goal in extra time during the 2009-2010 playoffs v Newcastle Jets.

Bucket list: Attend a Phoenix away game in Australia.