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Fan makes stand by flying to World Cup

PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 01 July 2010

England fan Andy Cook(centre) with friends(l to r) Gavin Howes, Karen Gilleberg, Andy Thornton and Dan Howes.

England fan Andy Cook(centre) with friends(l to r) Gavin Howes, Karen Gilleberg, Andy Thornton and Dan Howes.

Peter Walsh

For the last World Cup England fan Andy Cook built a stadium in his back garden so friends could watch the action in comfort, but this time he will be hoping to get a grandstand view of the action himself - by flying out to the finals in South Arica.

For the last World Cup England fan Andy Cook built a stadium in his back garden so friends could watch the action in comfort, but this time he will be hoping to get a grandstand view of the action himself - by flying out to the finals in South Arica.

Mr Cook, a self-employed electrician from Dereham Road, Norwich, hit the headlines four years ago, when for the 2006 tournament he built a 35 -40 seater stadium so his pals could watch England progress.

But Mr Cook, who in 2004 converted his shed into a cinema so people could see action from the Euro 2004 Championships, said he has not watched an England game properly for eight years because he has been too busy hosting other people.

He now plans to fly out to South Africa later this month with three friends so he can be at the forefront of the action - and hopefully see England lift the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

He said: “We're flying out on June 24 after England qualify. We're going for about 22 days. I've got tickets for the second round, quarter finals, semi finals and final.

“I haven't really seen a game of football in eight years because I'm doing these different things and you're always looking after people being the host and not watching the football.”

Mr Cook, 38, said friends had been asking him if he had any plans for something unusual this year for the tournament and he told them that he would be going himself after planning the trip since September last year.

He said: “It's going to be brilliant. It's going to be fantastic and hopefully we will do well.”

One member of the family who is not so excited about the trip however is Mr Cook's 16-year-old son Ryan who was going to join his father originally but now will not be able to as he has exams.

The tournament kicks off on June 11 with hosts South Africa playing Mexico in the opening game at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

England open their campaign the following day against the USA in Rustenburg, where the team is based for the tournament, before playing Algeria in Cape Town on June 18 and then their final group game against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth on June 23.

Mr Cook said he will watch two of the opening games with his friends at the pub at home before heading out for the tournament following the final group game.

He said he is planning to watch one of the games, the clash with Algeria, at Norwich City's Carrow Road ground.

As previously reported for the tournament in Germany four years ago, Mr Cook decked out the stadium in England's colours and dotted about 100 St George's crosses around the stand and garden to cheer on the team.

Those who watched the games on a 32in TV helped raise money for charity by donating cash for The Davenport Trust, which helps young people with depression, animal charity PACT and the Norwich based Clare School.

For the next few weeks Evening News reporter Peter Walsh will become World Cup Walshy in a bid to uncover Norwich-related stories about the feast of football that is the World Cup.

Are you travelling out to South Africa to cheer on Fabio Capello's team, or are you organising an event in Norwich to celebrate the world's greatest footballing tournament?

If so, or if you have pictures from South Africa, or any other World Cup themed events, then get in touch with World Cup Walshy by calling 01603 772436 or emailing peter.walsh@archant.co.uk.

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