I grew up with football from childhood, due solely to the fact that this sport is the most popular in Germany and you can practice this sport at any time and in any place. My connection as a German to Australia also developed during my childhood. During the Barcelona Olympic Summer Games in 1992, I was inspired by the green and yellow colors of Australian sportswear and I found the abbreviation “AUS” to be something special. So I support both German and Australian athletes in front of the TV screen. In 1998 I received my very first replica soccer jersey from my godfather, who had previously traveled to Australia. It was an absolute dream for me, because at that time there was no really noteworthy internet and it was also impossible to buy a jersey of the Australian national team in Germany. This was the beginning and my passion to buy Australian national jerseys, to somehow make the seemingly impossible possible, like the search for hidden treasures, for which you have to put up with a long way to get them.
It was my luck that I had picked up the shopping bag from my first Socceroos jersey; Mick Simmons Sport! So I had a place, an address to which I could somehow turn, which I did over the years. The internet became more present and so I got in touch with the sports shop in Sydney, which helped my original collection to grow. At the time, I was not aware that Australian football players wear different jerseys than the ones you could buy in sports shops. When I became aware of this, the Jad started after these treasures, the so-called “match worn jerseys”.
In 1997, the Socceroos’ first football game, which was decisive for the 1998 World Cup qualification, was broadcast on German TV (Eurosport), a result that could not have been more tragic. The equalizer to 2-2, and thus the end of the World Cup qualification for the Socceroos, was shot by an Iranian player (Chodadad Azizi) who played those times for my German Bundesliga club (1. FC Köln). It couldn’t have been more ironic and tragic at the same time. In 2004 I was able to see my first Socceroos game live in the stadium. A friendly against South Africa in England (London, Craven Cottage, 1-0 win) and from that moment on, I traveled to almost every Socceroos away game, if time, budget and distance allowed. During this time I came into contact with the then national players as a passionate fan, to whom I still owe a very large part of today’s jersey collection.