THE prayers of a die-hard Preston North End supporter, who said he would “sell a kidney” in exchange for tickets to Monday’s Man Utd match, have been answered.
For the past week Michael Jackson, 52, who lives in South Africa, has been pleading to the nation for tickets to make his dreams of watching his home club PNE, against Premiership Giants Manchester United, come true.
In a desperate bid, Michael even said he would “sell a kidney”, “ride a giraffe” and “swim from Cape Town to the River Ribble” all in aid of his PNE ticket quest.
But following the Lancashire Evening Post’s article, the FA has come forward and have offered both Michael and his wife a free ticket.
Michael said: “I really can’t believe it. I am completely overwhelmed.
“I never thought that anything like this would happen, I feel very honoured and privileged. I am thrilled, I am excited and I am a proud Prestonian. I have fallen in love with Preston all over again.”
Having seen Michael’s story, the FA invited him to Wembley on Friday (February 13) for a VIP tour before giving him the surprise of his life – having hidden a pair of tickets to Preston North End versus Manchester United in the actual FA Cup trophy that sits in the Royal Box at the stadium.
Michael said: “When The FA got in touch I thought the tour of Wembley would at least make the trip worthwhile. To then find two tickets for the game hidden inside the actual FA Cup was absolutely incredible – I’ll be there on Monday and cannot wait for the game.”
Lucy Roberts-Hartley, marketing manager for The FA Cup, said:
“This season we’ve celebrating the adventure of The FA Cup – so as soon as we saw Michael’s story we knew his specific adventure needed to end with him being at the game on Monday night.
“Making a journey from thousands of miles away goes to show how special the FA Cup is to the fans. Hopefully Preston’s adventure continues and Michael will be back to see them in the final in May.”
Michael, who is originally from Longton, Preston, and his wife Carol, 48, have lived in Johannesburg in South Africa for 25 years.
Despite not having tickets the couple spent £5,000 on flights from Cape Town to London, a 12,000 mile round trip, all in the hope that once they arrived in the UK they would be able to get their hands on a pair of the gold dust tickets.
Tweet us your pictures of FA Cup adventures @LEPonline. Those that use the hashtag #FACupAdventure could be used in a book the FA is producing.