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Bradford City fans get their hands on cherished tickets
Buy this photo » Steve Price at Valley Parade
He queued for 27 hours and pitched a tent in the snow despite already having tickets for Bradford City’s Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
But now Steven Price, 31, of Shipley, has made sure the rest of his family will be walking down Wembley Way with him on Sunday, February 24.
The Princes Soft Drinks worker, who was first to arrive outside the Valley Parade ticket office at 5.45am on Wednesday, was at the front of the line to buy ‘general sale’ tickets for the club’s clash against Premier League Swansea when they went on sale just after 9am yesterday.
Mr Price, whose nine-year-old stepson Luke Hirst was a mascot when the Bantams played Arsenal, was led down to the ticket office from inside the stadium, where eager fans were taken at 1.30am yesterday to keep them out of the cold.
Speaking outside the ticket office, shortly after buying tickets for his wife Nicola, 31, as well as his nine-year-old nephew Lyndon Marshall and in-laws Gillian and Danny Marshall, he said: “I have been here 27 hours but it’s completely worth it. It feels amazing to have my tickets at last.
“I’m going home now, but I don’t think I’ll be going to bed.
“Walking down Wembley Way I’m going to be buzzing. We’re definitely going to beat Swansea!”
Yesterday morning about 1,000 people were snaked around Valley Parade, with hopeful fans still arriving at the ground to join the back of the queue as tickets went on sale.
About half were waiting in the McCall Suite inside the stadium and half outside the ground, with fans being taken down to the ticket office in small groups of 20 to 30.
Another fan, Paul Smith, 49, of Lidget Green, had spent much of the night making hot drinks for people in the queue after arriving with a gas stove.
“It feels fantastic – absolutely amazing,” he said, after buying a ticket for his 11-year-old son Mason.
“The team have done it for us and now we’re doing it for them. I’ve been camped out up on Bantam Hill and it’s been brilliant.
“I promised my son that I’d get him a ticket and I have – that’s what this is all about. We’ve got the golden ticket!”
Another supporter, Craig Dignam, 47, originally of Woodside but now serving in the Army, said it felt “awesome” to finally have his tickets after queuing since 12.10pm on Wednesday.
“There’s been a great atmosphere down here, we’ve all had a giggle and have stuck together,” he added.
“I think when I walk down Wembley Way I’ll probably cry!”
By about 1.30pm, queues had disappeared from outside Valley Parade but hundreds of weary fans were still waiting inside the ground, including some who had not been to sleep for more than 24 hours.
Anxious supporters could be seen clutching orange slips that guaranteed that they would get their tickets and showed their place in line as they waited to be called to the ticket windows.
“It does feel a bit like an airport waiting room, waiting for your flight to be called,” said Simon Lewis, 22, of Baildon, who had taken a ‘power nap’ since arriving in the suite.
“There have been people sleeping on the floor and others playing games on their phones. But it’ll all be worth it to see Bradford City at Wembley.”