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C'mon you Saints
IT’S the biggest exodus Southampton has ever seen.
More than 44,000 Saints fans will leave the city tomorrow for the club’s biggest day out for years.
When Southampton kick off against Carlisle at Wembley tomorrow the streets of the city will be deserted.
As well as the those lucky enough to be at the final thousands more will be crowded rounded television sets and in pubs and clubs across Hampshire.
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy showpiece marks a remarkable turnaround for the club who 12 months ago were forced into administration and on the brink of becoming soccer history.
But one year on boss Alan Pardew will lead the side out at home of football backed by the biggest army of Saints fans ever assembled.
Extra trains have been laid on to meet the demand from fans, and a convoy of almost 100 coaches will leave St Mary’s to make the journey up the M3.
Some have flown in from far flung corners of the globe with Saints-mad ex-pats making their way from Perth in Australia and Leesburg in America just outside Washington DC.
They will be joined by a group of ten Saints supporters who braved the early morning air yesterday to set off to walk to Wembley in aid of charity.
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Friends from the Daily Echo Saints forum were set on their way by Olympic athlete and fellow Southampton fan Iwan Thomas under the Ted Bates statue in the shadows of St Mary’s stadium.
Led by organiser Graham Harris the men started the longest of the three-leg journey walking 40 miles to Basingstoke before tackling another 27 today and a final 18 on Sunday to reach Wembley just hours before kick off.
Trekking approximately 90 miles, the walk has raised more than £5,000 for the male cancer charity Everyman and summed up the buzz about Saints’ big day.
Graham, 31, said: “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step and all that rubbish. Seriously though we’re very confident we’ll get there for the final.
“We’re looking forward to that part and by 12.30pm on Sunday we should be there, we just need a Saints win, bring the trophy back with us and everybody will be happy.”
Also among the crowd will be pensioner Herbie Taylor who will head to Wembley with all his family and couldn’t be more excited about the day.
Only last week the the 79-year-old was crowned football fan of the year at the Football League Awards.
He said: “It’s wonderful when you consider almost a year ago to the day we went into administration and when you put it in that context it’s going to be a huge game for the club.
“This is going to be a big party for Saints fans to express their happiness at still being a football league club.”
Saints have also been sent a good luck message from Southampton mayor Liz Mizon.
She said: “It will be very quiet in the Southampton on Sunday and I think everyone in the city has really got behind the team.
“They’ve made such a difference to the morale of the city and I’m sure they they’ll be on top form when they take to the pitch at Wembley.
“The guys have been doing great this season and the whole city will be cheering for them.”
To add to the £5,000 raised by the guys walking to Wembley go to justgiving.com/saintswembleywalk.