LOVE BIRDS: Matthew Pattison and his wife Jennifer Cliff-Pattison at their home in Bedfordview. Picture: Herbert Matimba
Whoever said long distance relationships don’t work out will be surprised by how much in love the Bidvest Wits midfielder Matthew Pattison and wife Jennifer Cliff are.
Jennifer, from England, and Pattison first met in Spain in 2005 when he was on holiday during his time at Newcastle United.
Jennifer says she knew Matthew as a budding soccer star from her hometown of Newcastle.
Now the married couple live miles apart. Jennifer is set to return to England next month where their three-year-old daughter Mollie is due to start school.
“It’s been great but difficult. He was a bit difficult in the beginning, but he is a very good guy. He is my best friend and that makes it easy.
“We are staying worlds apart because he works here. The reason we are still strong is because we communicate a lot. He is big on family so we Skype a lot,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer is secure enough not to be worried about groupies.
“I don’t worry much about women who throw themselves at him because I trust him and this groupie thing doesn’t happen much here in South Africa.
“It is rife in the UK because girls there think the moment you get involved with soccer players then its champagne and parties. But here it’s different so I don’t have any worries. I mean he was the golden boy from my area. An up and coming soccer star who played against Manchester United, so you can imagine.”
Jennifer and Pattison tied the knot on June 12, 2010, during the Fifa World Cup. She said in the beginning she did not give Pattison a chance because of the bad reputation soccer players have.
“There is a perception that soccer players are womanisers and are always partying so I had that wrong perception. That kind of thinking changed after I met Matthew and a couple of Newcastle players,” said Jennifer.
Pattison, who apparently has an obsession about cleanliness, said: “It’s the players with bad reputations that make things hard for genuine soccer players.”
The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Santos star’s wife said she rates the PSL highly and said she is always enjoys spending time in South Africa because of the weather.
“My father used to play for Sunderland reserves so I knew soccer long ago.
“I think the PSL is a brilliant league even though at times I feel like it’s underestimated. I think people should give it a chance. Soon it will be attracting big name players from Europe.
“When I am here we go out a lot. We take Mollie out and the weather here is so great. You are not restricted to the house so there is a lot to do when we are here,” she said.