Joy for Yellow Army as Norwich City supporters snap up tickets and get set for Wembley play-off clash with Middlesbrough

The scoreboard says it all during the Sky Bet Championship play-off sem0-final match at Carrow Road.

The scoreboard says it all during the Sky Bet Championship play-off sem0-final match at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Yellow Army is today counting down the seven days to its triumphant journey to Wembley, with supporters rushing to snap up precious tickets for the Canaries' first return to the home of football for 30 years.

Thousands of Norwich City fans have already bought their precious tickets for a mouth-watering match with Middlesbrough, which will give the winners a longed-for return to the Premier League.

And, with almost 40,000 gleeful fans heading to the capital, an armada of coaches is set to travel down the A11, with vehicles set to be brought in from outside the county.

The fact the Wembley trip, the first since the 1985 Milk Cup Final victory, has come at the expense of Norwich's East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town, is the icing on the cake.

Thousands of fans had bought their tickets for the bank holiday Monday match within hours of Alex Neil's side triumphing 3-1 in a thrilling Carrow Road victory on Saturday.

The first ticket for Wembley, which went on sale at 6pm on Saturday, was bought by a supporter on an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea.

Dale Patterson, 30, was the first to snap up a ticket, after logging on to the club website from a rig some 80 miles off the coast of Cromer.

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Mr Patterson, from Acle, who works for Great Yarmouth-based Halliburton, is due to fly home later this week, just in time for the date with destiny at Wembley.

His father Mick said: 'He rang us from the oil rig to say he'd got a ticket. When he's home he's a massive fan and he was a little bit sick he couldn't be there for Ipswich.'

Season-ticket holders and priority members are guaranteed the ability to purchase a ticket if they buy before 5pm on Wednesday. Sales of £20 priority memberships ended last night. With supporters desperate to get their hands on one of the 38,888 seats allocated, the club's website has been inundated. There were snaking queues of early risers at Carrow Road's ticket office yesterday.

John Thompson, 75, of Costessey and Trevor Alger, 62, from Beccles, were among the first, arriving before 6am. Mr Algar, who recalled queuing from 3am for Uefa Cup tickets in 1993, said: 'I expected us to be here today, I've been confident. I love my football. it's great for the club.'

The club was last night unable to say how many tickets had been sold, but the website showed the allocation in the lower levels of Wembley have already gone.

With the threat of disruption to travelling supporters due to rail strikes on the day of the game, coach operators are in for a busy week.

Charles Sanders, managing director of Holt-based Sanders Coaches, said: 'I've got a string of messages on my answerphone which I'll be responding to. But I've got no coaches to offer. All of mine are contracted to the club.

'I believe they've sold 5,000 coach seats over the weekend, so they will probably be having to bring in coaches from outside the county to get everybody there.'

See today's special souvenir EDP for a 16-page Pink Un supplement, packed with pictures, reaction and a full match report.

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