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An Alabama football fan flew all the way from Australia for SEC media days

Alabama fans stick Alabama flags on Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, and claim to have sabotaged its renovations. They pay $300 for hats shaped in the form of a national championship ring. They try to fight every single Oklahoma fan at the Sugar Bowl. And that fan was a woman.

And now they’re traveling all the way from Australia to hang out during SEC media days, an event in which people mostly sit around at a hotel and talk.

Meet Antony Hands, who spent between $8,000 and $9,000 to travel to Hoover, Ala., for the SEC’s annual sitdown with players and coaches. Brandon Larrabee of SB Nation’s Team Speed Kills blog spent some time with Hands. Here are the choice bits from his interview.

How did you get involved rooting for Alabama football?


I always loved American football. When I was a kid, you could see one game a week and it just really appealed to me, the strategic nature of it. Because I had very poor ball-handling skills; I couldn’t play Australian sports. And I ended up marrying an American by chance, and she was an Alabama grad, and since then I’ve become a little bit crazy about Alabama. …


What do you think of this whole event? Do y’all have anything like this in Australia?


There’s nothing like this in Australia — trust me. I told my folks, friends back home that, you know, over 100,000 people go to a college football game — they’ve got no idea


Saban’s arrival, basically?


Pretty much — no, there was one season before he arrived, which was pretty sad. And then, you know, I’ve had a pretty good [run]. You all have been following Alabama your whole lives and had to go through Mike Shula and all those guys, and coach change after coach change. I came along and, you know, it was fantastic. I’m just very thankful that my wife wasn’t a Kentucky grad, because that would be really disappointing.


What does she think of you now?


She’s a bit embarrassed, she’s a bit embarrassed. Because she’s a grad, right, so she went to all the games at school and it’s very ho-hum for her. It’s a big deal for me, so you know she sort of puts up with it.

In case you were wondering, $300 ring guy also was on hand.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.



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Marissa Payne · July 17, 2014

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