Love and passion for a football team now has a new yard stick in Parramatta FC fan Lino Vella.
Vella has been involved with Parramatta FC for over six decades starting off as a player before going on to be a coach and committee member.
Just months away from his 80th birthday, Vella has seen his beloved club win multiple amounts of titles and compete in the National Soccer League amongst a series of fantastic years.
On the eve of the National Premier League NSW men’s heritage round, he has let Football NSW in on a little secret he has.
“If I ever pass away, I have told my daughter that I would like to be cremated and some of my ashes to be spread around the goalposts at Melita Stadium,” he said.
“As soon as I arrived to Australia I have had an involvement with the club. In 1955 I started playing for Melita before the club merged with Malta Eagles to then make Melita Eagles.
“I was a goalkeeper for many years before I went through to become a coach a few times and also president of the club.”
Even when not directly involved with the club, Vella attended all of Parramatta’s games as a journalist for the Maltese Herald for several years.
He remembers all of Parramatta’s games but don’t ask him about a standout moment for the club.
“Although we won so many championships over the years – which was actually getting quite funny – the memory I go back to the most is when we were relegated form the NSL in the 1980s,” he said.
“We didn’t even come last, we finished third from the bottom and got relegated for whatever reason.”
Now a life member of the club, Vella doesn’t miss a game and plans to keep it that way.
“I go to games as a fan now and actually meet about half a dozen old timers there,” he said.
“The club will always remain in my blood that is for sure.”
Tickets are available at the gate of all venues this weekend. Attend your local Heritage Round fixture and use #NPLHeritageRound on social:
Heritage Round – Saturday 28 May 2016
6:30pm – Sutherland Sharks v Manly United – Seymour Shaw
7pm – Bonnyrigg WE v Rockdale City Suns – Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
7pm – Hakoah Sydney City East v Wollongong Wolves – Hensley Athletic Field
Heritage Round – Sunday 29 May 2016
3pm – Sydney Olympic v APIA Leichhardt Tigers – Belmore Sports Ground
3pm – Parramatta FC v Blacktown Spartans – Melita Stadium
4pm – Sydney United 58 v Blacktown City – Sydney United Sports Centre
-By Chris Georges