This season we are contacting Barnsley supporters from overseas and getting their stories about being Reds Abroad!
This week we caught up with Aaron Bright who is a Red Abroad in Australia...
"Born and bred in Melbourne, Australia, I’m a 41-year-old train driver with the suburban electric train service. Melbourne is a city spread over an area larger than Paris, but with a relatively small population of almost five million people and was recently named the World’s most liveable city for a record seventh time (they obviously can’t count God’s own country in a list of cities).
"I grew up following Australian Rules Football and Rugby League and could never grasp how people could watch a sport where there was a draw or no one scored and everyone would come away happy (I get it now). Football (or soccer) was widely played by European immigrants in Australia but was not widely supported or played by the greater Australian community (that’s since changed also).
"I met my wife here in Melbourne in 2002 while she was studying. She’s from Penistone and when her studies were completed she returned to the UK. In November 2003, I came to the UK on a two year working holiday visa, during which I lived in Penistone and worked in the Dearne Valley.
"For my birthday in January 2004, I was taken to my first ever football match, a home game for Barnsley against Bournemouth. The game finished a 1-1 draw, but when Barnsley scored and three sides of the stadium erupted, I thought that maybe there was something to this sport. I then agreed to come along to the next home game, a Tuesday night match at the end of January 2004.
"On the way to the match we listened to the radio and learned that Barnsley had signed a young player from the Manchester United academy who had trained with Man U that day and was currently rushing across the Pennines, in the hope of playing that evening. That player was Daniel Nardiello and he did play that night, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win to Barnsley. I was hooked on football and on Barnsley Football Club.
"I attended most home games for the remainder of the 2003-04 season and made my first away trip when we played Rushden & Diamonds; a game I will always remember for the free kick scored by David Murphy.
"With the 2004-05 season approaching, I purchased my season ticket, which got my name on our third kit that season as an added bonus.
"By the time the season was over, I had attended 55 Barnsley first team games including the pre-season and cup competitions. As an Australian, it was great to have Jacob Burns starring in the midfield at this time as well as David Scarsella as our reserve keeper.
"I remember a 7-1 defeat at Manchester City in the League Cup a year later. It was a game I won’t forget as it was my first against Premier League opposition and the atmosphere was amazing. I can still remember the Barnsley fans singing “6-5, we’re gonna win 6-5” when Barry Conlon got an early goal in the second half to make it 5-1.
"When the 2005/06 season commenced, I knew I would be going home before Christmas and made an effort to get to every home and away game before my time was up. My last game before heading home was a 1-1 draw with Rotherham at Oakwell, memorable for Rotherham having three men sent off!
"On my return to Melbourne, it timed well with Australia’s qualification to the World Cup in Germany 2006 and a new national football competition (A-League). I came back to huge interest in the sport which I now supported and was happy to get involved in the local excitement. At home, I support Melbourne Victory, who have won the A-League three times and qualified for the Asian Champions League six times since 2006.
"Some of my best memories during the last ten years would be the same as yours; the FA Cup run of 2008 as we knocked Liverpool and Chelsea out of the competition; the two promotions, and the JPT win.
"The voice of Matt Bailey has been a constant companion to me in the early hours of Sunday morning. A subscription to what was then Barnsley Player was a must have in order to stay up to date and listen to live games.
"As the club website improved over time, it’s been great to be able to watch full match replays to see and understand how we’ve been playing and from this season we get to watch live games each week for the first time on iFollow!
"Me, my wife and our three-year-old daughter get back to the area for a few weeks every 18 months or so to visit family and, of course, to get to some Barnsley matches. Last time we were over I got to Aston Villa away and a couple of home matches. I also had the opportunity to join Chris and Carlo for the Reds Report; a great source of news on the Reds for those of us who don’t get to join in the local banter.
"I now have over 25 shirts from my 15 seasons of support.
"Unfortunately, we won’t be over during this season but plan to get back at the start of the 2018-2019 season for a couple of months. You Reds!"
Are you like Aaron, a Red Abroad?
Contact us below!