A football-mad couple have been dubbed Britain’s most hardcore fans after watching 1,000 consecutive games.
The dedicated pair have not missed a single of their team’s home or away games since 1999.
Scunthorpe United FC fans Richard and Tracey Bailey got hooked after watching a goalless draw to Cambridge almost 20 years ago And since then they have witnessed 340 wins and spent about £60,000 on games during the 18-years following the club nicknamed ‘The Iron’.
The couple who live in Derby – 80 miles away from Scunthorpe – and have clocked up 65,736 miles just travelling to home fixtures.
They said there have been a few close calls and nearly missed an away tie at Bournemouth when the A34 near Oxford was shut because of a serious accident.
“When the traffic finally started moving again, we had 90 miles to cover in 90 minutes,” Tracey, 46, said.
“We made it, of course, but only because a very kind steward threw us into an executive parking space virtually outside the front door. We ran through the turnstiles just as the ref blew his whistle for the start of the game.”
She said every time they now come within four miles of a ground, they say: “Well, at least we can walk it from here”.
Tracey, added: “Even if we broke down, I think we’d just dump the car and get a taxi.”
Health and safety consultant, Tracey, said: “The reason why we’ve been able to do this is because we have good, flexible jobs, we can afford it, we haven’t been ill – and mainly we don’t have kids.
“We also haven’t broken down which would determine if we made it to the match or not – so touch wood that doesn’t happen.
“People say we’re bonkers and now people come up to us and say ‘oh it’s you two is it – who have been to every game’.
“But we’ve stuck with the team for all these years – and we’ll continue to do so while we still can.”
Tracey says the couple’s love affair with Scunthorpe United after the team were promoted in the 98/99 season at Wembley from Division 3 to Division 2.
The couple bought a home and away season ticket the following year and have continued to renew their tickets every season.
Although the couple were part of a record attendance at Glanford Park – 9,077 when they played Manchester United in the League Cup in September 2010 – they have also witnessed four relegations and endured one season where they won just ten games.
The fanatical pair have also seen eleven managers come and go but are still yet to celebrate any silverware.
Tracey moved from Scunthorpe to Derby for work over 20 years ago before meeting and marrying Richard.
Former Hereford Town supporter Richard then switched allegiances to support Tracey’s team due to fixture clashes.
Aerospace analyst Richard, 56, said: “We just fell in love with the atmosphere, the fans, the buzz of the build-up to the game – and the social aspect of making friends.
“A meal for two and a bottle of wine is usually around £50, and going out for a night out on the weekend is more than that – so we just spend that on the football. “
They celebrated their 1,000th match watching the Iron beat Northampton 3-0 at Sixfields on November 18th and were presented with a limited edition shirt by the club.