Sydney Swans superfan Jon Langford becomes the Bloods’ lucky charm ahead of elimination final against GWS


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September 08, 2018 06:23:49

As the Sydney Swans prepare for today’s elimination final against GWS, some of their fans have taken fate into their own hands.

Having won three consecutive games before their round 23 loss to Hawthorn, critics have a range of reasons why they might have succumbed to the Hawks’ comeback.

They were missing Buddy Franklin and Luke Parker, there was plenty of pressure surrounding the powerhouse rivalry, and maybe they just missed their opportunities in clutch moments?

But for the members of a private social media group, their theory relies on the absence of one fan.

The unofficial Sydney Swans Facebook group boasts more than 14,000 fans. It’s a place where users can come to express their love for the Bloods, vent during the tough times and bond over old footy memories.

One lucky member, who supports from afar down in Tasmania, has recently become the most popular of the group.

Jon Langford has been a one-eyed Swans supporter since he was a little boy, when in 1981 his mother put all the teams in a hat in a bid to help him pick a club.

“I wanted red and white, so I cheated a bit and fished it out because I liked Barry Round as a kid,” he said.

A year later the team went on to win the Escort Cup, setting his fandom in concrete.

“It was a long time ago, but I’ve loved them ever since, Mr Langford said.

“I even watched them in 1992 and 1993 when they lost 26 games in a row.”

Fellow fans rallied to get him to the SCG

Mr Langford became well-known among the Facebook fan base after posting video after video of old footage of heritage Swans moments.

And yet, the group were shocked to find out he had never been able to muster up the funds to see his team play at the SCG.

In fact, Mr Langford had only seen them play three times in his life, when they had come to Launceston and Hobart.

After he suffered a bout of ill health this year, the group had all the encouragement they needed to rally together and get him to a game.

An individual sent him a message on the basis that “everyone should see their dream”, and different members of the group chipped in to get him flights, accommodation, and a match ticket to the Swans v Collingwood game.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been there. Wow,” Mr Langford said.

“It was breathtaking. My God. They asked me to help make the banner that day too. It was brilliant to see so many people in one place.”

In a nailbiter, Sydney won the game by two points and Mr Langford was labelled a lucky charm.

‘The feeling of it in person is just breathtaking’

Others grew eager to help him get to the following game against Melbourne at the MCG.

And one of his new friends, Caroline Maloney, even drove five hours out of her way to pick him up from Melbourne Airport for a bit of sightseeing before the match.

They visited Lake Oval, took a photo with Bob Skilton’s statue and drove on a bit of the racetrack before Ms Maloney dropped Mr Langford at the stadium with a $100 gift to help him with travel.

Mr Langford was overwhelmed by her kindness and then overcome by emotion as he made his way to his seat.

“Being breast cancer day, when I walked up the steps I was videoing and I had tears running down my cheeks,” he said.

“That’s how much it meant to me that moment.

“I walked in at just the right time, when they were assembling the lovely pink lady on the ground.

“The things you see on TV, the feeling of it in person is just breathtaking.”

On a roll, the supporters once again decided they better get Mr Langford to the Sydney derby, the next round at the Sydney showgrounds.

And you better believe it, the Swans won again.

“The Giants were up at three-quarter time and everyone was giving up,” Mr Langford said.

“I said ‘don’t give in’, and we came home flying and won by 20 points.”

Unable to make the next clash at the SCG where the Swans were in a battle with Hawthorn for fourth place, Mr Langford watched his team let go of a 25-point lead they held in the second quarter from the comfort of his own home.

His absence from that game was all the evidence the social media group needed to ensure Mr Langford made it to this weekend’s elimination final against the Giants.

He’ll be part of the Swans’ cheer squad, sitting behind the posts, and is confident his team will make it through to the second week.

“I’ve been so thankful. I’ve lost my voice three times from yelling at the games and I wouldn’t mind if I lost my voice again this weekend,” he said.

“I think I’ve got about 100 people to meet at the game and they’ve already said if they win, ‘you’re on the next trip Jon’.”

“I hope they win, it’ll be like a fairy tale ending to my story.”

Topics:

sport,

australian-football-league,

sydney-2000,

tas



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