By Chris Wright
With opportunities to watch Preston North End play against Lancashire rivals Manchester United few and far between these days, one desperate North End fan is willing to take extreme measures in order to snag himself a ticket for the upcoming FA Cup fifth round tie between the two sides.
Having lived in Johannesburg for the past 25 years, 52-year-old Preston fan Michael Jackson is so hell bent on making the 5,700-mile pilgrimage to watch his side take on United at Deepdale on February 16th that he’s even willing to hack out one of his body parts for a ticket.
“I’d sell a kidney to get a ticket,” the 52-year-old North End fan told the Lancashire Evening Post.
“Someone suggested I should ride a giraffe, I’d do whatever it takes. I’d even swim from Cape Town to the River Ribble.
“It is on TV but I want to be there in person cheering on the Lilywhites. But it is impossible to get a ticket.”
With match tickets rarer than chicken’s teeth at the moment, Jackson has even started a Facebook campaign to try to obtain a pair of ticket for him and his wife.
“I’ve put an appeal on Facebook,” he continued.
“I have to be at that game it is a once in a lifetime match and marks a year since Sir Tom Finney died.
“I want to be there and hear the roar from my home town at Deepdale.
“If this never happens again in my lifetime and I miss it I will spend years in tears.”
Jackson explained to the paper that he is ready to fly out from South Africa at a moment’s notice and that he is willing to jump through any hoop necessary to make it to the game — even if it means buying an entire season ticket just to gain access to the United match.
“People will say ‘part-time supporters only want to come to the big games’ but I can’t get to games because I live in South Africa. I spent all my money going to games when I was younger.
“I’ve followed North End’s cup run and I even wrote to the South African newspapers complaining that they don’t carry PNE’s score in the paper because of the league they are in.
“I will pay whatever it takes if I have to buy a season ticket I will do.”
Wow. When it comes down to being willing to flog off visceral organs then that’s some seriously impressive dedication to the cause.
Football does strange things to people, doesn’t it?