Super fan Kate’s a trailblazing Wander Woman
How’s this for your first trip overseas? M&C Saatchi’s IT Queen Kate Durnell is off to Saudi Arabia as the lone female supporter of her beloved Western Sydney Wanderers football team in an adventure that’s getting talked about all over the world right now.
Kate, a mad flag-waving, song-chanting member of the Black & Red Army, was the only female supporter who travelled to watch her team play out the historic away leg drawer of the Asian Champions League final against Al Hilal at the weekend (1 November).
Kate had to jump some serious hurdles to get to the game in the ultra conservative city of Riyadh, chiefly because woman aren’t allowed to attend sporting matches in Saudi Arabia.
Because that edict flies in the face of the League’s anti discrimination regulations, Kate was given a special dispensation, as long as she travelled with a male companion.
So she took her dad along for the ride.
She had to ditch the red ‘n black shirt and scarf for the big game though.
Local custom required she wear a Hijab (head swathe) and Abaya (full-length garment) the whole time she was in Saudi..
Kate’s adventure has turned into something of a media frenzy both here and all over the world.
At last count her trip was the subject of upwards of 350 stories across newspaper, TV, radio and blogs from Washington to Wellington.
Some of the highlights include USA Today, Washington Times, Saudi TV, papers in Canada and closer to home this 1st person piece she wrote about the experience in the SMH, a similar story in the Daily Telegraph, a big front page splash in her local rag the Parramatta Advertiser, and Fox Sports, to name just a very few.
She’s also proved a real trail blazer for a group of female Saudi football fans who got wind of her story and lobbied local authorities to be allowed to sit with the Wanderers fans for the match – a first for the Muslim country!
Our Kate admits she’s a “little bit nervous, but is more excited than anything”.
What a trooper. But just be aware M&C Saatchi staffers, if you need your Outlook fixed in the future, you may have to contact Kate through her publicist.
Great work Kate and great work Wanderers!