36-year wait is over for exiled York City fans

The Simpsons at Wembley in 2012

The Simpsons at Wembley in 2012

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WHEN high-flying York City travel to Portsmouth on Saturday, it will end a long wait for two exiled fans.

The Portsmouth-based Simpson clan have clocked up thousands of miles watching the Minstermen, but tomorrow’s Fratton Park clash will allow two members of the family to fulfil a lifelong dream of watching City in their hometown.

The last time the sides met at Portsmouth in the 1979-80 season, brothers Drew and Ian Simpson, 39 and 36 respectively, were too young to go.

Their father Keith, a retired Royal Navy warrant officer and City fan, grew up in Green Hammerton but his naval career led to him leaving York, although he took Drew, Ian and eldest son Keith to City’s south-east matches.

Ian began travelling to most City games in 2000 to help him deal with the death of his mother Gloria, who formed and ran a boys’ football club and was a referee and secretary of a local junior league.

His closest York fixture to Portsmouth until now was a 1989 cup match at Southampton.

Ian, a Royal Navy photographer, said: “For 36 years, all my friends and family in Portsmouth have given me grief for supporting City, but I wouldn’t change a thing and hope we can beat the Blues again in a fixture I have waited a lifetime for. “For me, beating Portsmouth would be bigger than our double Wembley triumph in 2012.”

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