BIRTHDAY boy John Devenport celebrated his 50th by snapping up the milestone 4,000th season ticket that will guarantee Hartlepool United fans will pay just £100 to watch their team.
And ticket sales are continuing to shoot past the barrier.
After healthy queues at the Clarence Road ticket office all week, long-term Pools fan John picked up his ticket at 2.30pm yesterday.
The married dad of two, who lives in Caledonian Road, said: “It came as a surprise to learn I was number 4,000 but it was a great way to celebrate my 50th birthday.
“This is a great offer from the club which will put bums on seats and create a cracking atmosphere. It has created a big buzz in town.
“This is the first time I have bought a season ticket. But I go to as many home games as I can and go to a lot of away games,” added John, who is originally from Birmingham but moved to Hartlepool when he was 12.
The Housing Hartlepool transport officer will watch Pools from the Hartlepool College of Further Education stand in August.
Scores of people queued outside the Victoria Park ticket office from early yesterday morning and braved heavy showers waiting for a £100 ticket.
They included mum Carole Hewitt, 45, and 18-year-old daughter Emily, who made a lengthy round trip from their home in the rural County Durham village of Staindrop.
Carole, a born-and-bred Hartlepudlian who left the town 23 years ago, was buying tickets for herself, husband Ian, 44, and Emily.
She said: “It’s fantastic value and will be a great saving if all three of us come to the matches. My husband has always followed Pools and is delighted at this offer. Well done Pools.”
Vera Martindale had an unexpected bonus when she bought five adult tickets and four junior tickets. The club gave her a £50 cash refund.
Delighted Vera, 52, of the West View area of Hartlepool, said: “What a brilliant gesture by the club. The whole family have always followed Pools and are looking forward to the new season.
“The whole season ticket scheme has been great and this rounds it off superbly. All credit to Pools.”
Fan Ken Natt, 73, has been following Pools since 1947.He said: “It’s a great idea and will hopefully reap rewards in the new season.”
Ken, of the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, queued up wearing a T-shirt that summed up the initiative. It read: “Football without fans is nothing.”
As ticket sales reached 4,148 last night, Pools’ chief executive Russ Green said he was “delighted” the club’s ambitious scheme had been a success.
He added: “The players have really helped by getting behind this and they have been ringing me up over the summer asking how it’s been going.
“The owners deserve praise and we are excited for the new season.”
Ticket office manageress Sharon Precious said: “We had queues since 9am and it has been a fantastic effort from the fans.
“The response has been marvellous and we have been rushed off our feet. Hopefully that will keep going.”
Town mayor and former Pools mascot Stuart Drummond said: “There were times last season where Victoria Park was like a morgue. I’m sure this won’t be the case next season and The Vic will become a fortress once again.”