BURTON is gripped by play-off fever as the Brewers prepare for one of the biggest games in their history tonight, when all the build-up and pre-match hype stops and the action begins.
Albion’s battle to secure promotion to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history begins tonight with the first leg of the play-off semi final against Bradford City.
Hundreds of Brewers fans will be making the trip to West Yorkshire this afternoon, hoping to see the club take a giant stride towards their first trip to Wembley in more than a quarter of a century, while those staying behind will be packing out pubs and clubs across Burton.
The scramble for tickets in the week leading up to the play-offs has kept staff at the Pirelli Stadium busy, as well as the launch of the special play-off kit, which Brewers die-hards will be hoping will be a souvenir to what many would label as the club’s greatest achievement.
The club’s commercial director Fleur Robinson said: “The club shop has been buzzing since tickets for the Bradford match went on sale, and there is certainly a great feeling of anticipation for what promises to be a memorable few days.
“As well as tickets, fans have been busy snapping up a wide variety of merchandise from the new promotional shirt – which has proven extremely popular – to jester hats, flags and horns. It’s certainly been fantastic to see such engagement from our supporters at a very exciting time for the club.”
The Beacon Hotel, in Tutbury Road, will be maintaining its tradition of screening the big football matches, but rather than punters turning out to watch England, this time they will be cheering on the Brewers.
While there will be plenty of people calling in, a number of fans are also meeting at the pub to depart for Bradford.
Meanwhile, one new landlord has been busy making sure his pub would be able to screen the game.
Gavin Bradshaw has recently taken on popular sporting venue The Brewers Bar, in High Street.
While finalising his takeover, the bar momentarily lost its subscription to Sky Sports, which left Mr Bradshaw desperate to make sure the service was back up and running in time to screen both legs of the play-off semi finals.
He said: “We are expecting the place to be packed – we’ve already had people coming in asking if the game is going to be on.
“We’re also hoping to get some Burton flags outside before the game.”
Speaking to the Mail earlier this week, club chairman Ben Robinson confirmed Burton had been gripped by the team’s progress.
He said: “People have been queuing round the corner. The last time that happened was against Manchester United, so that emphasises the feeling in the town ahead of the game.”
Albion’s seating allocation for tonight’s game is sold out, though standing tickets are still available from the club.