Paul Wade went to high school two kilometers from the site of Dandenong’s proposed rectangular stadium.
Now the Socceroos legend is adding his muscle to the push to bring an A-League and W-League side to his old stomping ground by signing on as a Team 11 bid ambassador.
Wade was born in England before moving with his family to Hallam as an 11-year-old, where he would play junior football for Dandenong City and then Doveton.
He attended Dandenong’s St John’s Regional College with another Team 11 ambassador, Matildas great Theresa Deas, with the two remaining great friends to this day.
A hugely successful club career, primarily in midfield at NSL powerhouse South Melbourne, ran in tandem with his illustrious international career, throughout which he received 84 Socceroos caps between 1986-96.
Wade, who was for a long time Australia’s captain, is the sixth-most capped international in the country’s history.
The hugely popular 56-year-old, now living in Sydney, primarily travels the country as a public speaker with his Paul Wade Life Skills programs in schools, sports clubs and corporate settings.
But as the deadline for the A-League’s expansion process nears, Wade is also keen to add his voice to calls to bring a professional football club to Victoria’s south-east – his sentimental home.
“I’m proud to tell people that I come from the south-east suburbs of Melbourne,” Wade said.
“I want everyone else to know who we are and what we stand for.
“Don’t be surprised if Team 11 wins the grand final with an average crowd of 20,000 fans – I sure won’t be.”
Wade joins Deas, Vince Grella, Debbie Nichols and Clint Bolton as official Team 11 ambassadors.
Current day players and coaches such as Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright, Scott McDonald and John Hutchinson are among the increasing amount of south-east Victorian products to have publicly backed Team 11’s bid for A-League and W-League inclusion.