Shane Meade and Stuart Balnaves have achieved plenty in central Victorian footy and business circles and they're both very proud, as they should be, of their beautiful families.
One thing is missing from their lives that they've craved for decades - a Melbourne premiership.
They both weren't around when Melbourne won its last flag in 1964 and since they started following the red and the blue they've been through more ups and downs than a Disneyland roller coaster.
The tough days when the Demons floundered at the bottom of the ladder in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The late great Jimmy Stynes ran over the mark in the infamous 1987 preliminary final.
The then grand final record defeat to Hawthorn in 1988 and another grand final thrashing to the hands of Essendon in 2000.
And then there was the time the Demons nearly merged with Hawthorn in 1996.
Through it all, they've been loyal to their beloved Demons and on Saturday night they're hoping that loyalty will pay off with a Melbourne victory over the Western Bulldogs in the grand final at Optus Stadium in Perth.
"My first memories of watching games was back in the late 70s when they played games at the Junction Oval,'' Meade, who followed his father's lead by becoming a Melbourne fan, said.
"They struggled through that period and then I remember in the early 80s they got Ron Barassi back to the club and everyone thought that was a great move. It was a bit like a club getting Alastair Clarkson now.
"Unfortunately, Barassi couldn't do much and I think they brought in Carl Ditterich as well, which was a big move, but that didn't generate much either.
"It wasn't until John Northey came to the club that we had a few good years.
"Up until this year I reckon 1987 was the best year of footy I've seen. Of course, that was the year that poor old Jimmy Stynes ran over the mark in the preliminary final."
Balnaves' journey to becoming a Demon fan was different.
"I started off as a Carlton supporter when I was little because my parents were Carlton supporters,'' Balnaves said.
"When I started high school I was asked who I barracked for and I said "Carlton".
"Carlton must have won the flag the year before and the boys at school said I only barracked for them because they were on top.
"I told them that wasn't the case and that I'd be happy to support the bottom team. That happened to be Melbourne at the time and I've been with them ever since."
Meade and Balnaves are long-time members of the club.
They even made the trip to Perth in 2018 to watch the Demons' preliminary final loss to West Coast.
Through their membership packages, both Meade and Balnaves were guaranteed grand final tickets, but restrictions meant they couldn't travel to Perth.
"I did think about trying to finding a way to get over there, but when player parents can't get even get over there they're not going to get the average Joe Blow in,'' Meade said
"They finally made the grand final, but we can't use the tickets. I gave them to (former Bendigo Pioneers and Sandhurst footballer) Sammy O'Brien, who lives over in WA. He's a big Demon man and he was pretty happy to get his hands on the tickets."
Balnaves and Meade contact each other every Friday night to discuss team selection and their upcoming opponent and, prior to COVID, travelled interstate together at least once a year to watch the Demons.
"All year Meadey kept telling me that we'd finish top four, but I thought we'd fall off the perch,'' Balnaves said
"I'm never very confident because I've been through those tough times.
"I'm like a cat on a hot tin roof now. Last week wasn't too bad because I knew the game was still a while away, but this week is different."
Balnaves has decked out his family home in a sea of red and blue, including painting the front fence in the same pattern as the Melbourne jumper.
"Everyday I would wear something Melbourne,'' Balnaves said.
"It could be my Melbourne hat, a Melbourne t-shirt, windcheater or shorts. I've got about 15 pairs of Melbourne shorts and in the summer that's all I wear. I wear a pair of them every night to sleep in."
If the Demons get up on Saturday night, Meade's thoughts will go to two of his great Melbourne mates - Peter Crone and Steve Kelly - who are sadly no longer with us.
"(Country footy star) Peter Crone passed away last year and he was a great Demon man,'' Meade said.
"We grew up together in St Arnaud and had some great times together.
"(Bendigo Braves great) Steve Kelly was a rusted on Demon. Hopefully, Croney and Steve are up there helping us out."
The timing of Saturday's grand final adds an interesting wrinkle for the Balnaves family.
"My oldest son barracks for the Western Bulldogs and he's moving back into our house at the weekend because his house is undergoing some renovations,'' Balnaves said.
"We'll barrack and banter and carry on, but at the end of the day it's a game of footy. One of us will be very happy on Saturday night.
"If Melbourne wins I'll be the happiest man in the world. I wear all my Melbourne stuff and people hang it on me all the time.
"If Melbourne wins the grand final it means for the next 12 months I can wear my Melbourne stuff and give it back to them.
"Geez, that would be nice."
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