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WEMBLEY: NO ORDINARY FAN

19 March 2015

Williams goes from Wellington to Wembley...

GEORGE Williams is no ordinary fan. Brought up in Walsall, the lifelong Saddlers supporter emigrated to New Zealand in 1967 to take up a career opportunity.

This week, he made the 13,500-mile trip back to his hometown to support Dean Smith’s men for our first-ever appearance at Wembley Stadium. 

“I was brought up watching Walsall and now have to follow them from the other side of the world,” smiles Gordon. “It’s a 35-hour trip, 27 on a plane and eight in transit, but I wasn’t going to miss this one!

“I’ve had to stop in Auckland, Singapore and Zurich on the way here so it feels good to have finally landed and to be back in Walsall!”

Gordon has returned to watch his beloved Saddlers on numerous occasions since relocating, none more memorable than the 2001 play-off victory over Reading at the Millennium Stadium.

“I was actually a little disappointed that year because I’d have loved it to have been at Wembley,” he added. “It was a great day, though, and we beat the odds to gain promotion which made it even more dramatic.

“We took around 17,500 to the Millennium Stadium so you can see just how much this weekend means to the town when we hear of over 29,000 Saddlers fans all going to Wembley.

“Each time I’ve returned to watch Walsall we haven’t lost, so I’m hoping I can bring the good luck with me to the game."

A keen footballer himself, Gordon pulls on his boots for an over-35s side and is one of the many thousands of football fans who keep a keen an eye on their team from the other side of the world.

“I haven’t missed a game for a few seasons now,” he added.“There’s a huge football community in New Zealand but I don’t bump in to too many Saddlers over there.

“Once I found out we got to the Area Final, I started to believe we could do it and after we beat Preston away I started planning. I’d already booked to come back in August for a Wedding so I’ll have to work for another year to pay for this trip but there was no way I wasn’t going to come.

“When I was on my way over here, it dawned on me, ‘what if we lose?’ It’s a bit too late now and like back in 2001, it could be very close, maybe even extra-time, but I think we’ll just sneak it!"

Do you know someone who has travelled further than Wellington for Sunday’s game? Let us know by tweeting us @WFCOfficial

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