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3 June 2015

City exile clocked up almost 19,000 miles during play-off campaign

ONE of Norwich City's furthest-travelling fans has no regrets over the mammoth journey he undertook to watch his side take part in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

Sam Wood flew in from Perth, Australia for the end-of-season format, having made a promise he would return to England if City were still in action beyond the end of the regular league schedule.

He had previously held a season ticket for the 2014-15 campaign, but was forced to give it up when he relocated in the New Year, and exclusively told "There's no question winning in the final at Wembley was the best day of my Norwich City supporting life.

"I remember the UEFA Cup campaign, but wasn't old enough to understand the significance of it at at the time. I was at Cardiff when we lost in the play-off final in 2002, so to see half of Wembley in yellow and green and to win was amazing.

"To do it after beating Ipswich in the semi-finals made it even more pleasing. The second half display in that game at Carrow Road was as good a 45 minutes as I can remember.

"I honestly can't imagine how I'd have felt if I'd not there to be part of it. It was great to be back and see family and friends too."

The 30-year-old attended his first game in 1991, and saw the story of his mammoth 9,358 mile trek back to Norfolk go viral in the build-up to City's home meeting with their East Anglian rivals in mid-May.

Such an experience was a new one to Sam, who admitted: "It was surreal, all starting from making a post on Twitter about travelling from Australia to see the semi-final.

"That caught the eye of a few media channels, but I absolutely didn't expect what happened from then on. It was pretty fun though, with several people stopping outside Carrow Road to talk to me which was really enjoyable.

"The highlight was when Robert Fleck came up and introduced himself to me after the game. One of my heroes approaching me wasn't something I'd ever thought would happen - it's supposed to be the other way round!"

Having seen his side clinch promotion back to the Barclays Premier League courtesy of a famous win at Wembley Stadium, Sam flew back 'Down Under' the following day.

However, there was one final surprise in store, as he explained: "I had a message on Twitter from a guy saying his brother was also flying back to Perth from Heathrow the same afternoon.

"It turned out we were on the same flight, although I didn't get to meet him until the layover in Doha. However, when I did, I realised we'd been sitting two seats away from each other at Wembley!

"Although I covered a lot of miles, there are hundreds of City fans who travel the length and breadth of the country every week following the team. I've probably got a long way to go to catch up with some of them!"

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