Huddersfield Town fan flies in from Australia for Wembley final

Natalie Richards is a Huddersfield Town fan now living in Perth, Australia
Natalie Richards is a Huddersfield Town fan now living in Perth, Australia
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An expat Huddersfield Town fan is flying over 15,000km to watch her beloved team in their bid to reach the Premiership.

Natalie Richards left Huddersfield in 2005 to emigrate to Perth in Western Australia, and has continued to follow the Terriers ever since.

The journalist's last-minute holiday request meant she has just 58 hours in the UK and 40 in the air during the whirlwind trip.

She will be joining Yorkshire family and friends at Wembley to watch Town take on Reading in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

"As my fellow UK expats know, there’s something special about supporting your local club when everything else has gone to pot," said Natalie, who works at The Western Australian newspaper.

"Your parents skint themselves to buy season tickets when you were kids, you know someone whose son played for the team and you see the players down the local pub.

"It would be very easy to support a bigger club out of town but there’s something to be said for sitting out in the rain and feeling you’re making a difference to a club which, who knows, may play with the big boys one day.

"And it’s why I’ll think nothing of packing my bag jetting over to join my fellow fans for a few days."

Natalie heard about Town's semi-final victory last week at 5am Perth time.

"From my bedroom in Perth, I watched footage of pints being thrown in the air, fans hugging and men dancing on tables as my own phone lit up with a Facetime call.

"My brother screamed down the phone from 15,000km away and, among the chants of “Wem-ber-ley” the plans were already in place to make the five-hour pilgrimage to that iconic stadium in the south.

"We toyed with hiring a minibus to fit the family in but hours after the final whistle, there wasn’t one available in town. Just like the football shirts at the fan shop, they were snapped up long ago."

Natalie currently relies on radio coverage of Huddersfield's matches, but if they are to reach the Premiership, she will able to watch televised games live in Australia.

"A long-haul flight for a couple of hours in a stadium is a small price to pay for a hometown club that feels so much closer."

The club have now sold over 40,000 tickets to the game, and coach companies from all over the UK have been drafted in to transport fans to London.

Natalie has been explaining the appeal of a Wembley away day to her Australian readers here.