South Shields FC supporters are being given the chance to get on track for Wembley – with the help of a train company.
Virgin Trains has announced that it has added an extra service to help Mariners fans enjoy their big day out on Sunday, May 21.
Over 9,000 supporters have already snapped up match tickets, with Shields taking on Cleethorpes Town in the final of the FA Vase.
It will be the first visit to Wembley in the club’s history, but there had been concern some fans may struggle to make it to London in time for the 12.15pm kick-off.
However, the additional Virgin Trains service to London King’s Cross will depart Newcastle at 07.08am, calling at Durham, Darlington and York before arriving into the capital at 10.23am.
South Shields FC joint manager Graham Fenton has hailed the “fantastic gesture” of the conmpany.
We’re very grateful for Virgin Trains for stepping in and putting on an extra service early on the Sunday morning to help get fans to Wembley in good timeGraham Fenton
He said: “Our fans and the wider community in and around South Shields is really buzzing as it looks forward to our first ever trip to play at Wembley – a once in a lifetime experience for many players and fans.
“We’re very grateful for Virgin Trains for stepping in and putting on an extra service early on the Sunday morning to help get fans to Wembley in good time.
“It’s a fantastic gesture of support for the club and the South Shields community.”
As well as the final of the FA Vase, supporters will be able to enjoy the final of the FA Trophy between York City and Macclesfield Town, which kicks off at 4.15pm.
Wembley-bound York fans will also be picked up by the extra service.
Shields will travel to London looking to add another piece of silverware to their collection, having won the Northern League title on Tuesday.
Top scorer David Foley is hoping the Mariners can end the season on a high at the national stadium.
He said: “While lots of young people dream of playing at Wembley we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve had from the local community, not just in terms of fans buying tickets for the final of the FA Vase, but also the record-breaking attendances we’ve had this year, with almost 40,000 attending our home matches over the course of the season.
“It’s been an amazing season and we’re hoping to finish it off with a trophy at Wembley next month.”
Claire Ansley, general manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: “We’re delighted to add this extra return service for South Shields FC fans.
“It’s important to us that we support our local communities on our route, and we hope many Mariners fans will be able to travel to London and back for the FA Vase in style on our newly refurbished trains.”
Tickets can be booked via Virgin Trains’ website, www.virgintrainseastcoast.com, or from Westoe Travel, which has packages available, by calling 0191 455 2292.