‘Once in a lifetime’: fathers and eight-year-old sons off to World Cup

Brad Turner got an email from the Fanatics, the business that organises travel to some of the world's most popular events as well as annual Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

The email was advertising the football World Cup. He forwarded it to two mates who also live on Sydney's northern beaches, Mick Williams and Andrew Smith, saying: 'This is us'.

Now all three dads and their three eight-year-old sons are flying out on Tuesday bound for Moscow and the World Cup.

Mr Turner said: "I was talking to Mick a couple of weeks later about something unrelated and told him my wife, Jill, had said I could go to Russia. He said 'Let me talk to Kate, I think I will be OK, too'.

"I spoke to Andy and he said he would speak to his wife Angela. I said it would be 12 nights and cost about $10,000. They both said yes. Now it has turned into 18 nights and $25,000."

Brad's wife, Jill, said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. "It's only in the last few days that I thought 'Oh my God, I'm going to miss not having them around. We have never been apart for that long.


"We also have a daughter, Zoe, 12, who will have her 13th birthday while they are away. She said 'What do I get dad?' We have earned some credits now the boys are going to the World Cup. We'll keep our options open."

Front row, from left, Ryker Williams, Jacob Turner and Isaac Smith are on their way to Russia with their fathers, from left, Andrew Smith, Brad Turner and Mick Williams.

Photo: Louis Douvis

Andrew Smith said his dream was to take his son to the World Cup even before he was born. It always was on the bucket list.

"The boys train and play together five or six times a week and want to be professionals one day. We hope it is going to inspire them by seeing what it takes to play on the world stage. We went to their schools to ask them if we could take them to the World Cup and they said yes."

His wife Angela said it was a long time for her husband and son to be away but "you can't put a price on the experience".

"There's a huge educational side to it. Living in Australia we are so far away from the rest of the world. We live in a bit of a bubble. For our kids to be able to see another country and the multiculturalism that's going to be there, is a rewarding experience."

Kazan Arena stadium is the venue for Australia's game against France on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Fanatics will hope that Brad and Jill's son, Jacob, is far off the mark with his predictions of the Socceroos performance.

"My friends said they would like to go as well but they can't. I am looking forward to watching the games and celebrating if they win," he said.

So will they win? "Hopefully. But I don't think so."

And the first game at the Kazan Arena against France on Saturday? Online predictions of the result suggest a win for France 78 per cent; a draw 15 per cent and a win for Australia 7 per cent.

Jacob's view. "Two nil. To France."

Tim Barlass

Tim Barlass is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald

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