Maitland FC stalwart Paul Osland has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Bill Turner Award in the final wrap-up of the Northern NSW Football season.
For more than 20 years, the man affectionately known as “Oz” has lived and breathed the black and white, following his playing career with the same club.
Paul first took over the club as president when the club was at a low point, on and off the field. It had been relegated from what was then the State League, had just three teams in its cohorts and had minimal financial support from the surrounding community.
Today, after 20 years of hard work, with the leadership of Paul and his respected colleagues, the club will enter the Herald Women’s Premier League next year, taking the three-team club from 2014 to an impressive 19 teams in 2021, made possible by the strong and respectful relationships Paul held with neighbouring club Thornton Redbacks FC.
With his ability to work with a range of stakeholders, Paul has been instrumental in the club achieving success on and off the field with improvements to infrastructure and building strong relationships with many Maitland businesses that have become loyal, long-term sponsors of the club.
Paul loves the game and is passionate about his club. He devotes an enormous amount of time physically at the club and until recently could be found mowing and nurturing the lawns of the pitches until Council advised they were taking over. The improvements to the playing surface over the last three years by Maitland City Council is certainly appreciated by Paul who used to manually set the sprinklers day and night to get the best playing surface possible for upcoming match days.
Respected and admired, not only by colleagues and players at his own club, but also by competing clubs and governing bodies, Paul is an absolute gentleman to all he meets. Known as ‘the cuddler’ there is always a warm greeting and genuine smile from Paul when you see him.
While Paul had great success serving on the executive for nearly 20 years both as president and as treasurer, his greatest achievement is by far his reputation as the heart of the club, welcoming everyone in typical Oz fashion, with open arms.