A land that I have only visited in my dreams...and "Property Hunters" episodes on HGTV. You have given me so many things of which I am thankful for:
The bloomin' onion at Outback Steakhouse.
Home of Wolverine, Thor, and the Joker.
Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee.
Hugo Weaving's voice.
The late Steve Irwin.
This country/continent has always fascinated me and I was excited to come across our next featured supporters group.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Leeds United Victoria.
Established in 2005, Leeds United Victoria came into being to replace the defunct Leeds United Australia chapter after it disbanded.
"There were quite a few Leeds fans who met either at Melbourne home games, away trips or online on forums," Dave McCabe informed me. "We ended up creating quite a good little community and from there decided to make things more official and create a Supporters Group for Leeds fans."
Since the day of inception, this group of undying loyalty has met at the Charles Dickens Tavern in Melbourne. If you are ever in town and come across Collins Street, take a moment to search out the number 290. Like Platform 9 ¾, you could find some magic there.
"We have had some amazing nights in a packed pub down there," McCabe recalls,"and also had some results which we'd rather forget."
As far as the number of members in the Victoria group, it is as allusive as a win for the club which they support.
"A while ago we were officially linked with the Supporter Group and Members Club in England, but right now Leeds United Vic is unofficial. We don't offer memberships, it's more of a community where fans can come for news and information on pub meet-ups."
Sounds like the way we do it here in Charlotte, at the moment.
Because of the great distance, the group has not be able to travel together to Elland Road for a game, but have made trips individually. However, the dedication they show can be found within a great tale of trying to watch one match in particular.
Once in 2008, Leeds United was facing Doncaster for a playoff final. Unfortunately, no one was broadcasting the game in the whole of Australia. The members of Leeds United Victoria didn't take that news sitting down. An email campaign ensued when the group flooded Fox Sports Australia's inbox with demands to show the game. Eventually, Fox Sports bowed to the demands offering a delayed broadcast.
"This wasn't good enough for us," McCabe recollects," so we organized for the Charles Dickens Tavern to connect a computer to their large TV screen so that we could stream the game live."
We have personally done this for many a match at my go-to Charlotte pub Courtyard Hooligans. Props to you, Victoria!
Well, McCabe has been kind enough to join us in the Hot Seat. So make like you are at Charles Dickens in Melbourne, grab a stool and a pint of Carlton Draught.
THE HOT SEAT
If you had the ability to change one thing about Leeds United, what would it be?
This is a personal opinion rather than me speaking on behalf of Leeds United Victoria but I dream of the day we finally get some stable ownership. I don't need a billionaire and to follow in the footsteps of Manchester City, but a mix of local Leeds businessman and fans who can make the club feel normal again and have the finance to keep the club competitive at the right end of the table. This mid-table mediocrity which we constantly seem to find ourselves in just isn't good enough for a club like Leeds United.
If you were recruiting a fan and could use only one word to describe the fandom, what would it be and why?
Looking both overseas and here in Australia. In the UK, after all the rubbish we've had to put up with over the years, the fans continue to show up at home and away. I can only imagine what it will be like if we ever get our house back in order. And here in Australia it would have been very easy for fans to give up on Leeds due to the difficulty over the years to follow the team and with all the ups and downs they've provided. But it just doesn't happen. We continue to get great interest online and great turnouts at pubs. Our fans are a different class and are the best asset this football club has.
What is the Leeds United moment that sticks most in your head?
There are many really. Being at the pub for 4am kickoffs with a handful of fans (sometimes before work) to being at the pub when it's jam packed like we've had for the 2006 and 2008 playoff finals. But the 2 greatest nights we have had down there were the FA Cup win over Scum and then later that season with the promotion game against Bristol Rovers. The celebrations and sheer joy those 2 wins brought to our fans were ones to remember. The celebrations after the promotion went long into the night/morning too.
Also a quick mention that we got to meet the Kaiser Chiefs backstage at their Melbourne gig back in 2007 at Festival Hall. We got in contact with their manager and explained the Leeds connection and they were more than happy to meet up with us. Great Leeds lads, really cool guys.
What is it about Leeds United that made you become a fan?
Speaking for myself, it was a lot to do with the Australian link back in the late 90's. Obviously, we had a certain Aussie player at the time playing for Leeds which mean't we got to see quite a few Leeds games on TV in Australia. Made it very easy to follow the team from the other side of the world. Then getting Dukes on board who is my all time favourite player was just brilliant. The history of the club obviously speaks for itself and I also love the terrace culture over there in England so the Leeds fans always captured my attention. Even to this day I can spend hours watching clips of our fans taking over stadiums right across England.
Thanks for taking the time to talk Leeds, Dave. For more information about Leeds United Victoria, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Are you a member of a supporters group? Let us highlight you. Reach me on Twitter at @johnhorne3, or leave your group's information in the comments below. #MOT