Bleary-eyed Huddersfield Town fans awoke to the reality they are going to Wembley – and are just 90 minutes away from the Premier League.
Town supporters cheered their heroes to a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Sheffield Wednesday and partied late into the night.
Two thousand fans were at Hillsborough for the Championship play-off semi-final second leg, sealed by a brilliant penalty save from keeper Danny Ward.
And back in Huddersfield another 3,000 fans packed into Town’s Canalside training complex to watch the action on a big screen.
Fans drank Canalside dry, downing 3,800 pints on the night. Bar staff had to send out to Asda TWICE to keep the celebrations flowing.
The heart-stopping victory kept Huddersfield’s Premier League dreams alive, setting up a clash with Reading at Wembley stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, May 29.
Some fans had already gambled on booking hotel rooms and train tickets – and the gamble paid off.
Around 50 diehard fans were waiting for the players to return to Canalside on board the team bus.
With the bar run dry and staff clearing up around them, fans waited in the cold as the coach finally arrived – horn blasting out in celebration – at 12.45am.
One of the fans who watched the game at Canalside Tony Jack, of Birkby, is a lifelong Town fan who returned to Huddersfield in January and said: “Wow, what a night.
“Apart from my kids being born this is the best night of my life. I have no words.”
Alison Cheney, 35, a fan for 30 years, said: “I am so proud of the team. It’s unbelievable.”
David Carter, 41, was also in dreamland and added: “I can’t believe we’re going to Wembley.”
Darryl Peat, 36, of Mirfield, said: “People say we’ve over-achieved but we haven’t. What we said was ‘no limits’ and we have achieved it. We just went for it and I am proud of every single player.”
James Robinson, of Mirfield, had been to the game and went to Canalside to welcome the players home.
“It was unreal down there,” he said. “It will take ages for my voice to come back. It was tense but we just kept singing.”
Ryan Mather, 21, of Lindley, sported ‘Payne 16’ on the back of his Town shirt and his heart was in his mouth when his favourite – Jack Payne – missed a penalty putting Wembley in jeopardy.
“I was a bit gutted for him but it doesn’t matter now,” said Ryan. Asked if he was going to Wembley he said: “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Chris Bruce, of Mirfield, also came up from Hillsborough and said: “I’d have taken a 10th place finish at the start of the season.
And there’ll be no keeping Derek Highe away from Wembley either – despite knee replacement surgery just a few weeks ago.
Derek, of Mirfield, said: “Someone said it would all end in tears. How wrong they were!”