HUNDREDS of children are counting down to Huddersfield Town’s play-off final at Old Trafford.
Thanks to the generosity of chairman Dean Hoyle and a host of businesses, 800 children in the town are being given free tickets and travel for Sunday’s match.
The tickets are going to children who would not otherwise get the chance to attend a football match.
Among those to benefit are children at St Thomas’ Primary School in Bradley.
A group of 98 will travel over to Manchester for free thanks to Huddersfield Town and the kind-hearted sponsors backing the chairman’s idea.
St Thomas’ headteacher David Rushby said that it would be the first time some of the school’s children had ever been to a live football match.
He said: “The children are excited, they’ve seen football matches on the TV but they don’t really know what to expect because some of them have never been to a game before.
“I’m sure when we get there on Sunday they’ll see all the people, the enormity of it and the importance of the game will set in and they’ll feel even more excited.”
Town legend Andy Booth contacted the school to offer them free tickets after the donations poured in earlier this week.
They were initially offered 44 tickets for pupils, with five for teachers to accompany them, but when the pledges increased, the school was offered another coach with more tickets.
Yesterday Town chairman Dean Hoyle called into the school to meet some of the pupils who will cheer the team on from the terraces.
Mr Hoyle dipped into his pocket to the tune of £3,000 to buy tickets so under-privileged children could attend the club’s biggest game in the last decade, where a win at Old Trafford would seal their promotion to the Championship.
He hoped to fund tickets and travel for 200 children, but within hours of Hoyle pledging the cash, another £22,000 had been raised by businesses and supporters backing the idea.
It means the club will now have 800 youngsters cheering them on, when otherwise the youngsters would never have been able to attend.
Mr Hoyle said: “There are many children in Huddersfield who don’t get the chance to go to a game at the Galpharm, never mind a big match at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
“This is community spirit at its finest and it now means that we can hopefully get 800 children to this game.”
All week Andy Booth has been visiting schools and charities to sign children up for the trip of a lifetime.
Among those to benefit are youngsters connected to the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust, the Hollybank Trust, Kirkwood Hospice and the Laura Crane Trust.