Grimsby Town at Wembley: Tickets go on sale for FA Trophy final against Wrexham
THE whole town was buzzing as tickets went on sale for Grimsby Town's first trip to Wembley in five years.
Grimsby Town Football Club haven't been to Wembley since 2008 and haven't won there since the two marvelous victories just six weeks apart in the amazing 1998 season of success.
It is estimated that around 31,000 fans made the trip to London for the Division Two play-off clash against Northampton that saw them promoted to the First Division – equivalent to today's Championship.
But since then, it's been nothing but hurt in recent years as the fans watched their beloved football team fall from grace – and the football league.
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However, this weekend, the buzz returned to Blundell Park as the team earned a place in the final of the FA Trophy at Wembley Stadium by beating Dartford over two legs.
Now the side will face an FA Trophy final clash against stadium debutantes Wrexham.
Mark Atkinson, 31, has lived in Imperial Avenue under the shadow of Blundell Park for 20 years and watched with glee as the final whistle blew at Blundell Park on Saturday.
He said: "We've had our fair share of suffering for the last few years and I think it's about time that we return to the glory days.
"I remember that 1998 season and the trip to Wembley and it feels the same as that – but this time I can take my lad who loves town as much as I do."
Son Layton Cowper, 7, who will be going to Wembley for the first time, said: "I can't wait to go to and I know we're going to win."
Yesterday, the Football Association put about 6,000 seats on sale in the 90,000 capacity national stadium – all behind the goal.
However, Grimsby Town Football Club will be offering better seats around the halfway line to season ticket holders from next Wednesday, March 6, and will open up their allocation to other fans a few days later.
Dale Ladson, press officer at Grimsby Town, said: "The mood is absolutely buzzing at the club right now with this trip and the prospect of promotion – the phones have been ringing off the hook since we secured our spot on Saturday."
"There will be more than enough room for everyone, but we're selling the best seats first, so the quicker you get your ticket, the better it will be."
Lifelong fan Chris Parker, chairman of the Mariners Trust, will be seeing his club at the London landmark for the fourth time after watching two glorious victories in 1998 – and a bitter defeat against MK Dons in 2008.
He said: "It's a great place to go and a horrible place to lose, but you have to go into every match with the intention of winning.
"Some people say that all they care about is the league, which is fine if it were one or the other, but the form we're in at the moment, there's no reason we can't win both."
Supporter Lisa Smith, 43, of Cross Street, said: "It's fantastic for the whole town – the weather is dismal, the economy is bad but when Town are doing well, it gives everyone a bit of a lift."
Son Jack Smith, 9, says: "Whenever I go they seem to win, so I'll definitely be there – they have been playing really well recently."
Rob Scott look ahead to tonight's game – page 35. More Mariners' news at thisisgrimsby.co.uk/sport