Sunderland fans set off from Stadium of Light for Manchester United semi-final clash

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THOUSANDS of Sunderland supporters have set off on the three-hour journey to Old Trafford.

Scores of fans packed the 150 free coaches put on by the football club to take them to tonight’s anticipated Capital One Cup semi-final clash against Manchester United.

Ros Holden, 31, and Sarah Shutt, 31, of Seaburn leaving for the match

Ros Holden, 31, and Sarah Shutt, 31, of Seaburn leaving for the match

Little Keaton Hill, six, of Town End Farm, is thrilled to be going to his first away game at The Theatre of Dreams.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “My favourite players are Giaccherini, Rooney and Adam Johnson.”

And for dad Anthony Adamson, 29, the chance to share the experience with his son was a dream come true.

“It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“I’ve never been to Old Trafford, and I never went to away games with my dad so I’m really pleased to be taking my son.”

Sunderland AFC ticket holders Flo Nicholson, 72, of Ford Estate, and Jean Ritchie, 72, of Hylton Lane, were making the trip to support the lads with friends.

Flo, who was last at Old Trafford when Sunderland got beaten by Millwall in the FA Cup semi-final in 2004, said she is hoping for a better result tonight.

“A 1-0 win will do,” she said. “I’ve been a season ticket holder for 12 years and I’m looking forward to this game.

“I don’t go to away games all the time anymore, but this is a special one.

“Our children and grandchildren keep saying we shouldn’t be going.”

Brian Mason, 53, was also at the semi-final game against Millwall, and made a special banner reading Gus Poyet’s Red and White Army.

“I’d like Sunderland to score first,” said Brian, of Columbia, who owns Car Style and Signs.

“And win 2-0. If we win we will be on the road to Wembly.”

Eight-month pregnant Sarah Shutt, 31, of Seaburn, said her baby could come early if the excitement of tonight’s game gets too much.

“I don’t know what it is yet but I might call it Adam, after Adam Johnson, if it’s a boy,” she said.

“Although that could cause a dispute – my husband is a Newcastle fan.

“I’ve had a season ticket for 19 years, and I can just imagine us getting to Wembley and me not being there because the baby is due on February 26.

“The final is four days after on March 2, so even if we don’t win every cloud has a silver lining.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull