SUNDERLAND fans with a Cup Final ticket almost in their grasp, were in cheerful spirits outside Roker Park today despite having spent the night huddled in sleeping bags and blankets on the pavement – and facing another night outdoors before tickets go on sale at 11am tomorrow.
About 800 tickets for the match between Sunderland and Leeds a week on Saturday, will be on sale to the holders of Green K vouchers some of whom arrived by 5pm yesterday to begin the two-night vigil.
By 10am today more than 100 fans–mainly youngsters on holiday from the school–were sitting in deck chairs and on stools drinking tea from flasks or being visited by parents with welcome refreshment to keep their spirits up.
Radios blared out pop music and fans were playing pocket chess or reading to while away the long hours until they can buy their £1 standing ticket.
Other supporters–who included some women–were taking it in turns to snatch 40 winks in cars parked outside the ground.
Near the front of the queue were four schoolboys–brothers Neil Ruffell (17), and Jeffrey Ruffell (14), and Brian Newby (13), all of Vale Street, Sunderland, and Stephen Dobbing (15), of Croft Avenue, Sunderland.
“We came down at 3pm yesterday afternoon but nobody was queueing and we decided not to stay,” said Brian. “Last night we heard a rumour that people were going down so we got our stuff and came down at 11pm.
“We saw the players come back from Nottingham about 2am and we helped Joe Bolton push his car when it would not start.”
The club manager, Mr Bob Stokoe, said: “It is an indication of the tremendous enthusiasm in the town that when we got back from Nottingham at 2 o’clock this morning, there were people waiting for tickets. It meant that they were prepared to spend two nights out in the cold so that they could see us at Wembley.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 25 1973.