Lifelong Millers fan travels 9,000 miles from Down Under to New York Stadium for first ever match - was it all worth it?

A LIFELONG Millers fan who has lived 25 years down under enjoyed a wonderful homecoming to the New York Stadium.

Steve Dawson (58), from Rawmarsh, first made the move to South Africa in 1987 before emigrating to Australia in 1997.

But he returned home over Christmas and managed to see his heroes in action at the NYS.

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“I arrived in town on Boxing Day to see family and managed to get a ticket for the Blackburn game last month where we won 4-0,” he said.

“It was such an absolutely memorable occasion for me seeing as though it was my first game at the New York Stadium.”

Born in Mexborough, Steve said living abroad had been the “greatest experience of his life” and he had witnessed such iconic moments as Nelson Mandela’s election as South Africa’s first black president in the 1990s.

“I was really excited about going over to South Africa to do a bit of work, experience all I could before coming back to Rotherham after two years,” Steve said.

“However, things didn’t quite go to plan.

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“As a mining engineer graduate, my skills were very lucrative for South African companies who recruited from the UK back in the 1980s which was perfect for me.

“Every time I got to the point of thinking about returning home, I’d get a promotion or a new job and I’d commit to another two years.

“I did witness apartheid, which meant a section of society couldn’t aspire to the same level as another which was difficult to see first hand.

“I got to vote in the 1994 election when Nelson Mandela came into power which was an amazing moment in history.”

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Living in Australia as a Millers fan has its challenges, with some early morning kick-offs.   

“I discovered ifollow during Covid, which was great because I could watch virtually every game live and I’ve bought a season ticket ever since to watch the Millers,” Steve said.

“A game which starts at 3pm on Saturday is a 1am kick off for me in Australia and a midweek game usually starts at 4.45am, which is difficult but I do it because of how I feel for the club.  

“For a long time, it was just waking up and checking the score on the BBC website and reading the match reports.  

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“I was very lucky to travel through London in 1996 and get to the Autoglass Trophy final and again in 2014 when Alex Revell scored that wonder goal in the play-off final.”  

Steve, who is CEO of one business and a director of another, said he was grateful to have found a “new way of life” in a different country which was only supposed to be a temporary situation.

“Lifestyle is key now in my life where the philosophy is work hard to play hard as well as working to live, not living to work,” he said.

“I have a wonderful family with a wife and two boys which is perfect.

“But I do miss my family in the UK and the memories I had of being on the turnstiles at Millmoor and going on nights out at Tiffany’s, near where the NYS is now.”