Well that’s it fans – they’ve all gone

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AFTER queuing up for two days and nights about 1,000 lucky Sunderland fan snapped up Cup Final tickets at Roker Park, today.

The gates opened shortly before 10am – about an hour earlier than planned – and by 11.30 the last £1 standing ticket had gone.

Hundreds of holders of Green K vouchers went away disappointed, even though some had been in the queue for more than 12 hours.

“Those who didn’t get a ticket accepted it philosophically,” said a police inspector.

“There was a little shoving and pushing towards the end, but nothing like the trouble we half expected.”

The last ticket was bought by Kenneth Lightburn, a 26-year-old civil service, of St Helier’s Way, East Stanley, who had been queueing since 5 o’clock last night.

“I had my fingers crossed the whole time,” he said. “Now I’ve got a ticket, I can’t believe it. I was getting really worried that I wouldn’t get one.”

Mr Ron Linney, Sunderland FC secretary, said he opened the gates early in the interests of safety.

“I would have opened the gates at midnight last night if I had had enough staff and policemen. These people had been waiting a heck of a long time for tickets, and I would have opened up for them.”

Last last night the first 400 in the queue had their vouchers stamped and signed by Roker Park staff. This followed complaints from the fans that people at the back of the queue – which at one time snaked around the Roker End – were passing their vouchers to friends at the front to collect their tickets for them.

It also led to Mr Linney restricting tickets to no more than five per person, no matter how many vouchers they held.

Caption: The unluckiest support on Wearside – he was next in line for a Cup Final ticket today when the policeman announced reluctantly: “Sorry chaps, they’ve all gone.”

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 26 1973.