The intricate footwork of their teenage son and daughter led to Australia emigrant David Richardson and wife Lee Anne making an unscheduled trip back to Portadown last week.
Daughter Natasha (17), a talented dancer, gained a place at the Performers College in Essex for a three-year Diploma/Degree Course in professional dance/musical theatre. Her ambition is to pursue a professional career in the performing arts. So mum Lee Anne travelled with her from their home in Brisbane, Queensland, to settle her into her new environment.
In the meantime, Matthew (15) – who plays football for the juniors team in Brisbane – gained a place in the International School of Soccer in the Genova-Milan area of Italy – to join 24 others (from Oz, New Zealand and Canada) for special coaching towards a career in the professional game.
It was arranged by the agents of former Juventus and Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero. The head coaches are Tomas Skuhravy, the Czech international capped 102 times and the all-time leading goal scorer for Genova, and Maurizio Ramon Turone, who played 350 Serie A games and won two Champions League titles.
Said David, “The original plan was simply for Lee Anne to travel to England with Natasha and get her settled. But when Matthew’s trip coincided, we took the opportunity to go back to my native Portadown, visit my uncles Nat and George Richardson – and we took in Saturday’s Portadown v Dungannon Swifts match, with the two men so closely associated with the Ports.”
David actually played for both the Ports and the Swifts during his football career in the Irish League before he headed for Brisbane 27 years ago – “and you wouldn’t believe it, but the last five times I’ve been back over the years, the Ports have played the Swifts!”
He added, “With allegiances to both teams, I didn’t really mind who won, but Nat and George were mad keen that Portadown should do it – they won so that pleased me.”