A WREXHAM fan who lives in America will be flying over to watch the Reds at Wembley after striking it lucky at a casino.
Jason Hughes, 42, was born in Ruabon and later lived in Acrefair before moving to Minneapolis in 1998.
His father Alan took him to his first Reds game in the club’s 1970s heyday and has remained a passionate fan ever since.
Since moving to the US, Jason has only been able to watch the club in action twice, but had been eagerly following their progress in the FA Trophy.
He feared he wouldn’t be able to attend the Reds’ first trip to the hallowed Wembley turf against Grimsby on March 24 as he couldn’t afford the flight costs of almost $1,200 (£790).
But incredibly, he and wife Robin won $1,195 on a slot machine just one day after the club sealed their place in the final by beating Gainsborough 4-3 in the semi-final.
Jason said: “I have been a Wrexham supporter all of my life ever since my dad, Alan Hughes from Acrefair, started taking me to games in the great old days of the late 1970s.
“I moved over to Minneapolis in 1998 with the last game I watched being the ‘backs to the wall’ performance (0-0) at Maine Road against Manchester City.
“I never thought I would live to see the day when Wrexham would get to play at Wembley.
“It’s been tough trying to follow them since I moved, but the internet has helped and I try to catch up through the reports on the Leader website.
“I actually took the Saturday off work to watch the first leg of the semi-final live at 6.30am over the internet. That’s the first time I’ve watched them in years.
“I listened to the second leg over the internet too having chewed every nail I had over the last 10 minutes.
“Even though I was over the moon with that joyous win, I still had a tinge of disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to watch them on this historic occasion.
“I checked my finances to see if I could afford a flight home to watch the final at Wembley, but realised I couldn't afford to go as the price of a flight was around $1,200.”
But then Jason enjoyed a stroke of luck.
He said: “The following day, my wife Robin and I decided to take a break from our kitchen renovations and took an overnight stay at a local casino.
“She had been given a free room for the night plus a free meal and a free drink.
“A friend of mine, Ian Samuels, from Johnstown, just happened to message me while we were at the casino asking if I was going to be able to make it back to see the game.
“Within 30 minutes, my wife and I hit a $1,000 jackpot on a slot machine and ended up cashing out with $1,195.
“My loving, selfless wife of course had no issues with me booking a flight over for a long weekend to see the game.”
He added: “The exact cost of the flight was $1,171, leaving me with $24 drinking money.”
Jason’s trip home will also mark the first time he has seen his one-year-old nephew.
He said: “I’m leaving on the Friday on the weekend of the game and I’ve got to fly from Minneapolis to Atlanta to Manchester arriving on Saturday morning.
“I’ll be getting over the jetlag on the Saturday and seeing my family.
“Then on the Sunday morning my mate Ian is picking me up in a minibus to take me to the game.
“I’m really looking forward to coming over, I’m so excited.
“I’ll be flying back on the Monday hopefully with a hangover and with a win to celebrate.”