When Melbourne Victory won its third Grand Final in 2015, Jakie Manevski knew she was all in with Victory.
And to show her lifelong commitment? A tattoo of course.
“It’s a football with an MVFC Banner,” she laughs. “I knew I was sticking with the club for life after that win the year before, and Victory just plays such a huge role in my life.”
It wasn’t until that season that Jakie was finally able to have her Victory membership, when it was gifted to her for her 21st birthday in 2014, timed perfectly to lead into the wining finale against Sydney FC.
“The atmosphere then was unreal. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like that. I don’t know if it was because it was against Sydney, and that huge rivalry there, but AAMI Park had about 29,000 people packed into the stands, and everyone was just cheering along…it was just goosebumps.”
Jakie grew up supporting Victory, watching their games mainly on the TV.
“My parents used to work seven days a week, doing all sorts of crazy hours, so there wasn’t any time to have a membership.
"But football is in the gene pool a little bit, everyone in the family watches, so as soon as Victory started up, it was like ‘OK, this our new local, professional side, let’s go watch!’.”
The Manevski name would be well-known in the local leagues, with Jakie’s brother playing locally, her father playing up until just a few years ago, and Jakie herself playing currently for Fitzroy City.
For Jakie, football has always been a family-shared passion.
“We’re huge English Premier League fans, but when Victory became the new football club in Melbourne...you’ve got to support the domestic league. Plus, it’s just a little bit far to get to any Manchester United games!”
Jakie may have been unable to get to the UK to watch her beloved Red Devils, but she’s got herself to a fair few away matches for Victory.
“I try and get to a handful of away games a season. I actually made the trip down to Wellington when they had the earthquake and the game got cancelled, so that was pretty interesting!
"But I think the only away locations I’ve yet to do are Central Coast and Perth, so hopefully next season!”
There’s certainly plenty more memories to be made for Jakie, but looking back, she’s already stashed some pretty unforgettable ones.
“Victory’s FFA Cup win against Perth at AAMI Park was quite special to me. To win our first FFA Cup, and the fact that it was at home was really great.
"Always winning trophies is great, but when it’s done at home and you’re there to witness it, nothing compares to that.
“But I was also lucky enough to have Danny Georgievski gift me the kit he wore in that match! So that definitely stands out.
“And then of course the Terry Antonis 117th winner to get us into another Grand Final against the Jets in 2018 … I couldn’t make it to that game but it was just unreal and I’ll always remember that.”
While Jakie’s membership began as a gift, she was committed to maintaining her membership past 21.
“The sense of family is what keeps me coming back. And I’m sure a lot of people say that with Victory, but for me especially, it’s become family. I go with my brother and sister to games, or my parents depending on who’s free, but I’ve also made lifelong friends from Victory.”
She loves the solidarity of Victory supporters as well.
“You’ll see a fellow Victory fan on the streets or something, and it’s just an automatic, ‘Hey, how’s it going!’ and it’s just great.”