When Relja ‘Roy’ Svitlica came to Australia from the Former Yugoslavia there would be only one team he’d ever support.
Arriving in New South Wales in 1974, he’d quickly move to Western Australia for work purposes.
Upon his return to Sydney in 1980, his love affair with the then ‘Avala’, now Bonnyrigg White Eagles, would begin.
The 62 year old painter remembers back to his first ever game, a derby against Sydney Croatia, now Sydney United 58.
“It was a special game, Avala verse Croatia. We won 3-2 in extra time thanks to a Zoran Djurisic strike.”
Ever since then, Roy has been an White Eagles member. He was also part of the White Eagles committee from 2000 to 2003.
The avid White Eagles fan doesn’t only attend all matches but rarely misses a training session.
This year things have changed though as Bonnyrigg attempts to preserve their pitch, training at the brand new facilities at Valentine Sports Park and holding recovery sessions at the swimming pool.
“I’ve missed a few sessions this year as the team trains at Glenwood and goes to the pools for recovery.”
The last time he missed a game was two years ago when he went overseas and does all he can to attend every match.
One would think that the occasional weekend wedding could be an issue for the White eagles crazed fan, but not for Roy.
“I left a wedding once to go and watch Bonnyrigg and only after the game finished did I return to the reception.
“When I went to Melbourne for another wedding, I couldn’t attend our game so I went to watch our sister club, Springvale White Eagles.”
He also made sure that his daughters wedding wouldn’t coincide with a league game, having the celebration during the off-season.
The White Eagles have seen many positives and negatives over the past years but there are a number of telling factors that have kept Roy continuously coming back to Simpson road.
“There are good and bad times for all clubs. It’s my club, my heart pulls me to the club.
“We are a sporting nation. “
His family has quite a footballing history, playing overseas in the highest leagues in Serbia and amongst the best teams in the country.
It seems as though he has one wound that still hurts him.
His son, Jovan Svitlica, was a White Eagles junior, spending his whole youth at the club. He never broke the first team though, finishing his career due to injury while playing for the reserve team.
“Rale Rasic once said about him that if he didn’t play for Australia he’d eat a football. It never happened though.”
The ever-present fan can’t pick his favourite player from the current first grade squad saying it is too hard to single one of the boys out.
We can take a wild stab in the dark and guess it’s the player he asked to take a photo with namely club captain Chris Tadrosse.
Heritage Round Match Details
Bonnyrigg White Eagles vs Sydney Olympic
7:30pm Saturday 13th June @ Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Tickets available at the gate (Adults $15, Concessions $10)
-By Nikola Pozder