A STRATFORD bar manager who has won a pair of the world’s most sought-after tickets is jetting off to the United States for Super Bowl XLVIII tomorrow (Friday).
Not only does 34-year-old Phil Atherton get to take his girlfriend to Sunday’s big game in New Jersey, the couple are being put up for three nights in a luxury hotel in New York’s Times Square.
Phil, who runs new micro-pub The Stratford Alehouse, entered Channel 4’s free online competition a couple of weeks ago after seeing it on The American Football Show.
When he was told he had won the grand prize, he thought it was a joke.
“Originally I was very skeptical,” he told the Herald. “I got the phone call on the Monday morning saying you have won the tickets and I thought ‘No, nobody wins these things!’ But now I have actually got the tickets so it is sinking in a bit.”
Phil and girlfriend Kate Lazenby, 31, are likely to be some of the only Brits in the 79,000-seater MetLife stadium on Sunday.
Luckily they both have the time off work because they were already planning a long weekend away, in Oxford.
Phil said: “I phoned her up and said ‘How do you fancy going to New York instead?’”
The tickets, which were delivered by courier, have a combined face value of $3,000, but each year Super Bowl passes get resold for prices much higher.
Some of the most valuable tickets in the world, this year a few have reportedly gone for over $10,000.
As well as flights and hotel accommodation, Phil’s prize-winning passes include a VIP Hospitality dinner before the game, complete with celebrity hosts and entertainment.
The American Football fan is looking forward to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at half-time, and can’t wait to see legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
“He’s had a fantastic season so this would be a fitting end to it,” said Phil, who hopes Manning’s Denver Broncos beat the Seattle Seahawks.
The couple, who live in Old Town, are going to make the most of their once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York.
Neither Phil nor Kate have been to the States before and Phil’s never been outside Europe.
He said: “We’re going to go a bit nuts, apparently it’s the city that never sleeps so I’m going to test that! We’re going to do as we possibly can in three days.”
Flying out tomorrow morning, he said: “It will only feel real when I’m sat on that plane.”
Phil’s winning answer.
Q: Which former defensive linesman was also known as ‘The Refrigerator’?
A: William Perry.
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