United in green and black

Rachael, Aiden, John and Phillip Coumans from St Albans Park in Geelong. (Ivan Kemp) 282517_06

Soccer fans from across the western suburbs and Geelong were dreaming of green and black last week in the lead up to the club’s inaugural grand final.

United overcame Melbourne Victory in the A-League Men semi final on May 21 to book a spot in the May 28 grand final against Melbourne City.

Star Weekly spoke to fans – many of whom have supported United since its inception three years ago – about their love for the team from the west.

The Camilleri family

Hillside’s Leanne Camilleri and her daughters Shanae and Sharna have been fans of the club since “the very beginning”.

The girls play for Calder United football club.

“When something came to the west, we had to start following them,” Ms Camilleri said.

She said the last week of anticipation had been “crazy” in the lead up to the final.

“They’ve done well every year … but to finally get to the final is great,“ she said.

“It’s just really good when we all get together, all the fans get together, we’re all sitting near each other with adrenaline and excitement. It’s fun supporting the team.“

The Vergles family

Bacchus Marsh’ Vergles family love to support Western United and were so excited to attend the big game.

“We are excited for the big grand final, it’s going to be great,” Hilsa Vergles said.

She said it was great to have witnessed the club grow from the beginning.

“It’s been phenomenal, we’re just so proud of all the people involved with the club,” she said.

“It is just amazing and gives us something in the west to be so proud of.”

Ms Vergles said she loved supporting the club with her children as it reminded her of her own youth and how soccer brought families together.

“It’s a beautiful thing, to share that with my family is even more important because when I was growing up, I had my clubs that I was a part of with my family and I still hold those memories very, very dear to me.”

The Howie family

The Howie family from Kurunjang loves to get behind the green and black and had all their best fan apparel ready to go for the big match.

Craig Howie said he had fond memories of taking his daughter and niece to a match after they’d attended a school holiday program when one of the players had remembered them and thanked them for coming to watch.

“Ever since then, they’ve been hooked,“ Mr Howie said.

“It’s a great family team.“

The Antonypillai family

The Antonypillai family has been supporting Western United ever its incepetion

Since the beginning United have been using City Vista Recreation Reserve, the home of Caroline Springs George Cross and also Roman and Ronald’s junior club as a training venue.

This has given the young fans a close look at the exciting players United have have over the year’s including their favourite, goalkeeper Jamie Young.

Asked about what he likes the most about Western United, Ronald said: “That they made the finals and that they’re my favourite team in the A-League.”

Mother Monia gave credit to coach John Aloisi who is in his first year as coach of the club.

She was proud of the team’s ability to perform without a star player.

“Coaches are very good, especially the boys, they are doing very good now,” she said.

“We don’t have Diamanti on board but the boys are still giving 100 per cent.”

The boys said it was nice to have a team representing where they live doing well in the competition.

The Woollam Family

Jenni Woollam says her family, from Hoppers Crossing, have been members “from day one“.

“My husband Michael was a previous Melbourne Victory fan … when he found out that we were going to have a club in the west, he immediately sort of jumped ship and said ’nah, we’re gonna support our local,“ Ms Woollam said.

“[He] sort of dragged us along in the beginning … but immediately felt connected to the Western United Football Club, it was something that brought our whole family together.“

The Spiess & Smith Family

Point Cook’s Miriam Spiess believes Western United are the A-League’s underdogs.

“They wrote off our coach John Aloisi, wrote off our club for the the finals, not one expert picked us to beat Melbourne Victory,“ she said.

“We love being underestimated.“

Ms Spiess said she enjoys watching games with her friend, Bec Smith, and both families love the club, and the Unitedfamily.

“People in the west should get behind the team so they can say ’I was there for the first grand final win’,“ she said.

The Couman family

John Coumans, 11, was supposed to be on school camp this week, but decided to stay home, fearing he would catch COVID and miss out on attending the game.

“He was supposed to go on camp but there’s been a lot of COVID at school and he was worried about getting it and having to be in isolation and not being able to attend the grand final,” mum Rachael said.

“He made the decision to lay low this week. He was disappointed but we’ve followed Western since the beginning.”

Rachael’s three boys, John, Phillip and Aiden love the atmosphere that The Western Service Crew creates and know all the songs and chants and are more than happy to sit right in the middle of the active supporters group.

“They are absolutely stoked,” she said.

“We were shocked that we won on Saturday but the result was magnificent. We all agreed it was the best game we have been to.”

The boys, from St Albans Park in Geelong, feel welcomed into the green and black family.

“We went to Tassie for the two games they had down there,” Rachael said.

“The players have just been so lovely. In fact the whole club has been amazing.”