Sheffield pilgrimage for date with destiny

Canadian Blade Thomas Dobby with Tony Currie at Bramall Lane during his last visit to England
Canadian Blade Thomas Dobby with Tony Currie at Bramall Lane during his last visit to England
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DIE-HARD Blades fans from across the world are going to great lengths to make the pilgrimage to Wembley stadium.

While thousands of people are making the journey from South Yorkshire this Saturday, a loyal army of expats and international followers is also set to descend on the national stadium.

Fans from as far afield as Norway and Canada will be there for the Blades’ date with destiny in the League One play-off final against Huddersfield Town.

Thomas Dobby, aged 28, and his Sheffield-born father Steve, 51, are jetting to England from Toronto, Canada, tonight for a flying three-day visit.

Television producer Thomas said: “My dad emigrated to Canada when he was 16, but he always supported the Blades and it got passed on to me.

“I kept saying to my dad that we’d have to go if they got to Wembley, but I was expecting automatic promotion for most of the season. I’ve been over on my own a few times for matches. I like going to away games because the fans tend to be more hardcore.

“I don’t feel overly confident. I’m just going to have fun on the day and enjoy it.”

Another barmy Blade from Thomas’ home country, Bob Mather, is making the 7,000-mile-plus round trip - and he’s got to rely on a Wednesdayite to put him up during his short stay.

The 67-year-old will stay with his sister Shirley and husband Gary, an Owl, at their home in Dungworth, near Stannington, before the big game.

Shirley said: “In Canada he runs about in a car which has the number plate SUFC 1, it’s his pride and joy! Trouble is no-one in Canada knows what SUFC stands for.”

For father-of-one Hans Petter Syversen, known as The Original Norweigan Blade, the occasion will be a family affair, as 15-year-old son Mats-Henrik and wife Kjersti will be travelling with him.

He said: “I started to support United in 1968, reading an English league table in a Norwegian paper. United were just above the relegation zone so I started to check results until the end of the season. They got relegated, but I found my team to support. Many think I am a bit crazy in the way I am supporting the Blades. It is quite unusual. I’m hoping for a great day and result.”