An Adelaide work-horse and a Sydney fan who moved states to be closer to her team have been named AFL Fans Association male and female Fan of the Year for 2016.
Jan Courtin is a lifelong Swans fan who moved from Brisbane to Sydney to be closer to her team and has written a book about her football journey.
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman says the winners were all worthy and epitomised loyalty and dedication. They also beat some tough competition.
“Robert Smith and Jan Courtin are both terrific ambassadors for our game,” Gerry says. “It isn’t hard to support your team, but volunteering takes special dedication. Robert goes above and beyond in organising the Crows Supporters Group, spending many many hours helping others.
“Jan has devoted her life to the Swans and recently wrote a book about her life journey, of which football has been an integral part. She even moved states to be closer to her team.”
The 2016 AFL Fans Association Award winners are:
Fan of the Year (Male) Robert Smith (Adelaide)
Fan of the Year (Female)
Jan Courtin (Sydney)
Born in 1943, Jan’s great uncle Jim Caldwell, captained South Melbourne’s 1918 premiership team. Born into a Bloods family, Jan attended her first match in 1948, when she was just four years old. She did not miss a game (except when at boarding school for a couple of years) for 20 odd years. When living in London in the 70s, she abandoned a holiday in Germany with her mother to return to London to fly to Melbourne to see the Swans play in their first final since 1945, before going back to the UK.
Returning to Australia and living in Brisbane for 22 years, Jan attended as many games as possible in Melbourne and then Sydney, and did not miss a finals match. After the Swans’ 1996 Grand Final, she declared “I’m sick to death at not being able to go to the games each week and not being closer to the Swans. That’s it, we just have to sell up, leave Brisbane and move to Sydney.”
She arrived in Sydney at the end of 1998 and her team’s success has followed. Since then Jan has attended every home game and many interstate, and after retiring in 2010, she and her husband, Marshall, have travelled the country to attend every match, except a few in Perth.
Jan also writes for The Footy Almanac and has released a book titled My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans, which was launched this year by Sydney club luminaries. Former chairman Richard Colless wrote the foreword. Jan donates 10 percent from the sale of each book to the GO Foundation, a charitable organisation established by Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin to provide Indigenous children with scholarships to quality schools.
Link to Jan’s book: www.myswansloveaffair.com