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The Moment: Yuske Aso

Japanese Sydney Swans supporter Yuske Aso is a die-hard fan of the red and white.

In this series, we uncover the moment when passionate Swans members fell in love with the red and white.

The first time Yuske Aso went to a game of Australian football he left the SCG more amused than impressed.

It was 1993, and a work colleague at ABC Radio, breakfast presenter Philip Clark, “dragged’’ him along to the SCG to watch the Swans.

“I told Phil I followed soccer and he said forget that, come along and watch some real football,’’ Aso said.

It was round 13, 1993, and the Swans were on a 26-game losing streak.

“The Swans broke the drought that day and beat Melbourne by 40 points so everyone around me was excited.

“But I wasn’t really impressed, I was more puzzled about this game where there were a whole lot of bodies jumping and crashing into each other,’’ Aso said.

“It didn’t turn me into a fan.’’

Aso made his first visit to Australia in 1984, a business trip for the Japanese corporation he worked for in Tokyo. He moved here in 1985 and immersed himself in the music and culture of his new home, but never the sport.

After his first visit to the SCG in 1993, Aso, a radio producer, didn’t rush back.

He didn’t attend his second Swans game until three years later, early in the 1996 season. 

Again it was at the invitation of Clark.

“Phil told me the Swans were doing better than they had been a few years before so I agreed to go and have another look,’’ Aso said.

It was Round 6, 1996, and Sydney was playing Essendon on a Friday night. At three-quarter time the Swans were down by 22 points.

“But they clawed back and drew the match. That draw felt like a win, it was so exciting and everyone in the crowd was smiling. I was genuinely excited too and from then on, I was along for the ride.’’

He went to home games for the rest of the season and then to the preliminary final at the SCG.

Tony Lockett kicked the behind after the siren to hand Sydney victory over Essendon and send the Swans into the 1996 Grand Final. 

“I had never been at anything like that, never seen anything more exciting. Everyone was shouting and screaming and that was the moment for me. I was completely hooked.’’

At the post-match function that night, Aso bought his first Swans scarf.

“It’s the same scarf I still wear to every game now, more than 20 years later.’’

His wife, Yumi, is now also an ardent Swans fan, as are their two daughters, Mika, 23, and Sayoko, 16.

“I’m pretty sure we’re the first Japanese native family who are members of the Swans!’’ Aso laughed.

His knowledge of footy and passion for the team has grown steadily since the 1990s and he still gets a thrill from being at the SCG.

“It’s the feeling of being part of a crowd galvanised behind the team they love and it’s unique to the SCG. When the crowd really gets into it, it’s an amazing thing. There’s a magical chemistry between the crowd and the team that I’ve rarely seen in sport.’’

And while he’s enjoyed watching the big-name footballers such as Lockett and Lance Franklin, they’re not why he follows the Swans.

“The so-called bit-part players are the ones who are a real joy to watch for me,’’ Aso said. “In the 1990s it was players like Peter Filandia and Wade Chapman, who kicked the ball to Plugger in that preliminary final. I’ve always loved the bit-part players who really go for it and are the unsung heroes.’’