South Shields FC are off to Wembley – and thousands of excited Mariners are set to be in tow.
The club secured their place at the world-famous stadium on Saturday.
A record Mariners Park crowd of 3,464 cheered Shields to a 4-0 win over Coleshill Town in the semi-final of the FA Vase, completing a 6-1 aggregate success.
Already, more than 4,000 tickets for the final have been snapped up by Shields fans eager to see them take to the Wembley turf for the first time in the club’s history.
The final is taking place on Saturday, May 21, with the Mariners to come up against Cleethorpes Town.
Club sponsor Westoe Travel has already taken a wave of bookings from fans looking to get travel and accommodation secured quickly.
It has been absolutely manic since the match on SaturdayJoan Brett
Joan Brett, of Westoe Travel, said: “It has been absolutely manic since the match on Saturday.
“We have already had hundreds of bookings.
“People are going down by coach and by train, with some of them coming back on the day and others staying over.
“We haven’t been this busy since Sunderland reached Wembley in 2014.
“This is great for the town.”
Shields’ initial allocation of tickets for Wembley is 6,300, with over 4,000 thought to have been sold already.
However, the club is hoping the allocation will be increased to suit the demand, after Hereford Town took about 20,000 fans to Wembley last season when they reached the final.
The Mariners will kick-off against Cleethorpes at 12.15pm, with those who have tickets also entitled to stay for the FA Trophy final between York City and Macclesfield Town, which kicks off at 4.15pm.
Tickets are £25 for adults, £10 for concessions and £1 for under-16s.
They can be bought online at www.ticketing.thefa.com or from the FA ticket office, which can be reached at 0844 826 2010.
Westoe Travel, meanwhile, have put together a number of packages that include the option to stay over, or return the same day, with prices for the day trip by coach starting at £35 for adults.
More information about the packages on offer can be found at www.westoetravel.co.uk, and booking can be made over the phone by calling 0191 4552292.
Joan added: “The place is buzzing and everyone is so excited about the trip to Wembley.
“We missed the match on Saturday because we were in the shop, as we knew there’d be a great demand if Shields got through.
“It was almost non-stop on Sunday and yesterday and we expect it to be busy all week.”