Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 10:15 UK

Fan's Cayman Islands FA cup trip

By Nick Dermody
BBC News

James Walton
James Walton will fly from the Cayman Islands for the Bluebirds' FA Cup final

A Bluebirds fan is making his second trip from the Caribbean in weeks to see Cardiff City at Wembley.

James Walton, 29, has already made one plane-hopping dash from the Cayman Islands to watch his team in the semis.

Now he has booked another series of transatlantic flights to cheer on City in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth.

The banking industry worker said: "As a Welsh football fan I will never see Wales play in a major final - this is as close as it will be."

Mr Walton, originally from Creigiau, has stumped up $1,700 for another indirect return flight from the Cayman Islands to London via Miami or JFK airport.

His determination to see his beloved Bluebirds has stumped his wife, his bosses and even some of his fellow fans.

He plans to meets half a dozen friends - one of whom is bringing his ticket - in a London pub before the game.

If they win, I'll have to come for the European Cup next year
Bluebirds fan James Walton

He said: "I think they think I'm a bit crazy. I don't think they thought I would come back for final but now we're through, I can hardly say no.

"We had good seats and we sat next to some of the players' wives. Michael Chopra was sat very close."

The hedge fund expert has had to work weekends to earn the time off for his trips but event then cannot guarantee a stress-free journey.

For the semi-final with Barnsley, two flights were cancelled and the 4,800-mile leg took him 30 hours.

He had to give up on his luggage at JKF and it did not arrive until after the match.

James Walton
His luggage lagged behind on the last trip so he is travelling light this time

He said: "The JFK flight was at the boarding gate. I couldn't get the luggage or get on the plane. I wasn't that bothered about my luggage as I'd only packed shorts and T-shirts.

"It's always a bit of a rush. I've only got half an hour to change flights in Miami, so if I miss that the earliest I can get back is Saturday morning.

"That would make it a bit tight. I won't be taking any checked luggage. Not after the last time."

He said he knows another Cayman Island-based Cardiff fan who is also headed for Wembley, but on a different series of flights.

Predicting a 2-1 win for the Bluebirds, he said: "I can't wait to get back now. I think we'll sneak it. I think we need to score early again.

"If they win, I'll have to come for the Uefa Cup next year.

Golfing trip

"It was a great day at Wembley. I'm looking forward to going back. The stadium was unbelievable. I thought the Millennium Stadium was good but think this had the edge."

However, he still has to win round long-suffering wife Lisa to his Bluebirds way of thinking.

"She's Irish, so she finds it a bit hard to understand why I'm going back... and a waste of money, I think!"

He said she told him he had to choose between a golfing trip he was planning for June and the FA Cup final.

He added: "It was a quick decision."

We will be running more stories from far-flung fans in the run-up to Saturday's final. If you have a good story to tell, let us know.



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