AS thousands of the region’s football fans make their way to Wembley, one group are crossing Europe to support a County Durham team in their big cup final.
Coaches full of bleary-eyed West Auckland Town supporters will leave the North East early tomorrow morning (May 10) to get to the capital for their 3pm kick off against Hampshire-side Sholing.
But one group calling themselves West’s Unofficial Scandinavian Supporter’s Club are heading to the FA Vase final from their homes in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Group chairman Conny Lavin, who lives in Landskrona in southern Sweden, admitted they were newcomers to West Auckland’s story but, after reading about them on the internet, decided they wanted to support the County Durham team.
He said: “We are all Fulham supporters really and come to London this time every year for the end of the season.
“One of our members saw the FA Vase final was on, we looked at the teams and after a quick Google search found West were definitely the team to support.
“Their history is so cool with two World Cups and we can’t wait to see them in action.
“Who knows, maybe it will be out first West game but not the last?”
The Scandinavian contingent, which could be up to 30 strong, are planning to meet the West Auckland Town fans at the Green Man pub on Dagmar Avenue, a short walk from Wembley Stadium, the regular dropping off point for North-East fans heading to the home of English football.
Also heading down from closer to home are Bishop Auckland-based Jeanette Yorke and her son Jamie Lee.
The pair went to Wembley in 2012 to watch West’s 2-0 defeat to Dunston UTS in the FA Vase final.
Despite the result Ms Yorke said: “It was a fantastic experience.
“We are both going at six in the morning and we hope the rain stays away and the players do the best they can to bring the Vase home tomorrow (May 10).”
An FA spokesman said 6,344 tickets have been sold for this year’s final although they will be available on the gate.
West Auckland Town have organised supporters' coaches with Compass Royston with many other fans organising their own mass transport to London.
Tickets cost £15 for adults and £5 for under 16s.