Paper Talk: Childhood memories flood home for Sydney FC youngster Devlin
Cameron Devlin still remembers the wild celebrations he witnessed in The Cove as a 12-year-old in love with Sydney FC.
Almost a decade later and the midfielder is sparking the same joy among Sky Blues fans from the other side of the fence.
Such euphoria was captured on Friday when the 20-year-old Shire kid celebrated his maiden Hyundai A-League goal with some familiar faces.
"I saw one of my mates in the crowd and went, 'yeah I better go over'," Devlin told the Sydney Morning Herald after Sydney’s 2-0 win over Adelaide United.
"That was actually really special for me to be honest.
"When I was 12, me and my cousin and some of my mates used to go in The Cove. I was so young, I was in there and they'd score a goal and you'd be getting saturated and everyone was jumping everywhere. It was wild.
"To score in front of them and celebrate with them after the game, it was really cool."
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The former Sutherland Sharks man’s strike might just inspire the defence of Sydney’s title.
The Sky Blues are now only five points behind leaders Perth Glory after Tony Popovic’s men drew with Melbourne City on Sunday.
Devlin’s strike means four Sydney FC academy players have found the net for the Sky Blues this season – Luke Ivanovic, Aaron Calver and Jacob Tratt.
That’s reason alone for Sky Blues fans to get as delirious as they were on Friday night – but hopefully this time no fences are broken.
"To be fair, I actually was getting crushed," Devlin said.
"I think they just got a bit carried away. The fence was just slowly coming down. I was trying to get away but obviously they're grabbing onto you. Some of the boys grabbed me and pulled me away."
Butterfield reveals Popa’s huge impact on Palace dressing room
We all know how much respect Tony Popovic commands as a manager in the Hyundai A-League but one of his former teammates has revealed it started long before his days in the dugout.
Long-serving Crystal Palace defender Danny Butterfield told Perth Now that Popovic had an aura of respect that followed him around at all times.
“The biggest compliment I can give Popa is that he held so much respect without craving it,” Butterfield told Perth Now.
“Everybody in the changing room respected Popa and listened when he spoke. He didn’t demand that respect, it came naturally because of the way he conducted himself.”
“Tony led by example without having to bark at you — but if you weren’t doing your job he would bark.”
Currently the manager of League Two club Milton Keynes Dons, Butterfield also explained the professional environment the Australian midfielder created around Palace.
“Popa brought a professionalism that wasn’t around back then,” Butterfield continued.
“He knew how to have a good time with his teammates, but how to switch to professionalism on training and match days.
“It never entered your mind that the centre-forward would get the better of Popa.
“Popa is someone you wanted alongside you. He had that intimidation streak in him but knew wisely when to use it.
“Him going on to coach just makes perfect sense because of his organisation and the way he could get the best out of people.”