Des is living the Cup final dream as he heads to Wembley from New Zealand (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Des is living the Cup final dream as he heads to Wembley from New Zealand
On the night Bradford City secured its Capital One Cup final place, club co-chairman Mark Lawn said the result would ‘send shockwaves around the world’.
Des Erby, 51, of Christchurch, New Zealand, could not agree more.
The life-long fan, who dreamed of playing for the Bantams as a child, will be flying into Manchester Airport from Christchurch, via Sydney, Bangkok and Dubai, for the Wembley final against Premier League Swansea City on Sunday, February 24.
He decided to make the journey across the world after Bantams beat Premier League Aston Villa 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the competition to book a place in a historic final.
Mr Erby, who moved to New Zealand when he was four, said: “On the morning of the second leg, New Zealand time, we dropped our daughter Kate off at the airport as she was leaving to live in Perth.
“As we left the airport, my wife Fee quietly asked how City were doing – my focus had been on her and Kate – and a quick check revealed we were on our way to Wembley.
“My wife knows me very well. She knew my heart would want me to go, but my head would overrule this emotion, so she made some calls to family in Bradford, work and airlines.
“A ticket was obtained, family made up a bed, leave approved and transportation booked.
“I’m not sure if I am the fan travelling the longest distance, but I must be close!”
The dad-of-two, who has six Bradford City scarves and a claret and amber towel in his bathroom, said he dreamed of playing for the Bantams as a youngster.
“While everyone else dreamed of being an All Black and selected an Arsenal or Man United to follow in that other sport – I dreamed of playing for Bradford City,” he said.
“While playing dreams fade, the support never does.”
He will spend £1,350 on flights, £60 on his match ticket and £30 on a coach – totalling £1,900 – and will spend around 50 hours in the air during his journey.
But asked how he is feeling about the final, Mr Erby, said: “Excited beyond belief. Everyone loves the story and the thought that, just occasionally, someone gets to live their dream.
“In the end, this trip will be something to remember as I grow old and a chance to enjoy the experience with others who have watched week in and out.”