Cardiff dream comes true for Bluebirds

By Paul Zalunardo
Updated November 5 2012 - 6:41am, first published May 15 2008 - 1:36am
Cardiff City fans (from left) Gareth Lewis, Debbie Alston, Barry Jones and Adrian Alston are looking forward to the FA Cup final. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Cardiff City's assault on this weekend's FA Cup final has a touch of the Illawarra about it.Bulli's Gareth Lewis and Farmborough Heights man Barry Jones will be among the more than 90,000 who wil pack the most famous of sporting venues for tomorrow night's clash with Portsmouth.While Lewis and Jones will be in the crowd with the Cardiff City faithful, former Bluebirds player Adrian Alston and his Welsh-born daughter Debbie will be watching from their homes.As two of the 450 members of the Bluebirds Downunder supporters group, the pair were due to arrive in Cardiff two days before the match to join the travelling hordes that will descend on London for the club's biggest day in more than 80 years.Jones said he had found the past few months difficult to comprehend."It is a dream to see your team make the FA Cup final, so many people never see it in their lifetime, 1927 was the last time for our club," he said. "At the start of the year I wouldn't have believed it, I was just thinking that we would be lucky to stay up (in the English Championship)."Lewis said the chance to watch his own club play at Wembley was a once in a lifetime event. "To go to Wembley is one thing, but to have Cardiff City playing is mind-boggling," he said.Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Frank Sinclair are two of the best known Cardiff City players while one-time Sydney FC target Robbie Fowler's season has been marred by injury.Alston, who proudly serves as patron of the Bluebirds Downunder club, said watching Cardiff reach the final had brought the memories flooding back.Signed by Cardiff City after playing for Australia in the 1974 World Cup, a season in the European Cup Winners Cup was thrown in during Alston's time in Wales."There wasn't a club I enjoyed playing for more than Cardiff City," Alston said."All the people and the fans there were fabulous."If it wasn't for (US Major League club) Tampa Bay coming in with a big offer for me, I don't think I would have left."Alston's daughter Debbie was born in Cardiff during his time at the club.She hasn't been back to Wales since spending the first two years of her life there but is still a Welsh citizen.In a great sign for the Australian-based Cardiff City fans, they scored a 5-0 win over Australia's Portsmouth fan club in a recent match.

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