Kim and Clive Barnard have been with the club through it all.
They were there when the club was first granted an AFL license.
They were there when the club appointed its first coach and captain.
They were there when the players were training out of tin sheds behind Metricon Stadium.
And now they’re still here while the club and the entire industry navigates through the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
Kim and Clive first signed on as SUNS Foundation Members in 2009, and over a decade later are as devout as ever when the club needs it most.
Speaking to SUNS Media, Clive stressed the importance of supporting the club through this crisis.
“It isn’t just important, it is essential,” Clive said.
“By standing by this club I love now, it means that on the other side of this, they will be there to stand by me when I need it, simple as that.
“Football clubs aren’t just about sport, they are about mutual support, holding each other up through the tough times, on and off the field.”
For Kim, the club is ingrained in her and her husband’s lives.
She’s ridden the ups and downs and has a feeling of connection to the organisation.
“I feel the disappointment from the boys when we lose and worry about them when they are injured, and take notice of the up and comers in the NEAFL,” Kim said.
“The club is still new enough to be like a family, all the players seem down to earth and will always stop and have a chat if they can, I feel like a part of it, not just a paying member.
“When this difficult time is past, it will be important to try and get some normalcy back into our lives and I think footy will play a big part in that and give some much needed relief from all the strain of having our lives turned upside down.”
There have been many highlights for the pair over the years, so narrowing it down to one moment was a tough ask.
But Clive said one memory stood out above the rest, the aftermath from the club’s first ever victory over Sydney in July 2018.
“I will always remember it, if only for the fact it was member and supporter driven,” he said.
“A Lachie Weller goal on the run from just outside 50 to seal it was a highlight and loungerooms around the Gold Coast as well as social media were alight with our first ever win over Sydney.
“Just after the final siren, someone posted online “when do they fly back in?”
“That set off a chain of events online and by phone that led to a large group of us members and supporters descending on the Gold Coast airport and lining up four-deep along the gate lounge to cheer the whole squad off the plane.
“I for one, will never forget the look on Mark Evans’ face as he was cheered off the plane, the boys were blown away by it and I think we even cheered the air hostesses off.
“It followed up with everybody congregating in the baggage area to talk to players, I remember Kim and I walking out of the terminal with Jack Bowes, that signature grin of his plastered across his face, thanking us for coming down.
“I think out of all the moments over ten years, that was the moment that cemented that long term relationship, between players and supporters.
“It was amazing.”
It’s hard to put into words how much the Barnards love the Gold Coast SUNS.
As Clive puts it: “there is no one thing I love most about the club, I just love this club full stop, it has allowed me in, accepted me for who I am, and embraced me as its own.”
“There is no better feeling than to be an intricate, respected part of something bigger than yourself.
“For that, I’ll be forever grateful.”
And for that, the SUNS are forever grateful to people like the Barnards.