For lifelong local Paul Osland, or ‘Oz’ as he is affectionately known, Maitland Football Club is a club he was born into, and he hasn’t left since.
Mr Osland is considered by many to be one of the back bones of Maitland Football Club, having held just about every role in the club through the years whether it was groundskeeper, cleaner, treasurer or president.
“I feel like I’ve been born into Maitland Football Club,” he said.
“One of the founders of the club was an uncle who I was close to and he mentored me.”
Mr Osland started playing for the Magpies when he was six, made his first grade debut for the senior club at 15 and even played in the over 35s age group.
“I’ve been around football all my life and I’m now almost 65, so a lifetime of passion and love,” he said.
Currently, his role is as a supporter of the club and carer of the grounds, the first time in 21 years he won’t have a committee position.
“It’s time for renewal and for other people to step forward with renewed enthusiasm and energy in the committee,” he said.
There have been many highlights throughout Mr Osland’s career, both on and off the field.
“Making my first grade debut before the age of 15 sticks out as a highlight,” he said.
“We have won grand finals and premierships over the years and I’ve been lucky enough to represent Northern NSW Football against visiting teams,
“Off the field highlights would definitely include winning promotion back into the NPL league after 12 years in the second tier competition in 2014, and then winning the top tier competition for the first time in 2019,
“That was a significant career highlight for me, that’s for sure having served the club for such a long period of time.”
Mr Osland has four children and nine grandchildren, aged 11-months to 19-years-old, who certainly keep him busy.
“The grand-kids keep me very busy, I like being a hands on Pop and being involved with their lives,” he said.
Mr Osland said his wife, Margaret, has been by his side through it all.
“The saying ‘behind every good man is an even better woman’ is particularly apt,” he said.
In 2020, Mr Osland received the prestigious Bill Turner Award from Northern NSW Football who called him an ‘eternal gentleman’.
“I felt very honoured, privileged and humbled,” he said.
“You don’t do things for reward or recognition, but I took it more as a reflection of the state of football in Maitland, being in a good place,
“It’s individual recognition for myself but reflected recognition for the players and the committee, and all those who’ve sacrificed and served the club in very many hard and challenging years.”
Mr Osland was also awarded Hunter Valley Football’s volunteer of the year in 2014, Northern NSW Soccer Federation’s administrator of the year in 2003, and was nominated for Maitland Citizen of the Year in 2018.
According to Mr Osland, Maitland’s greatest asset is it’s people and he is proud to live in the city.