'I'm absolutely livid' - How Champions League final trip turned into a nightmare for Norfolk Spurs fans
PUBLISHED: 13:05 08 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 08 June 2019
What was supposed to be a dream getaway to see their team shine at the top of European football turned into a nightmare for a group of Tottenham Hotspur supporters.
Six Norfolk men attempted travel by rented campervan down to Madrid to watch the Spurs take on Liverpool for the Uefa match on June 1.
But a series of setbacks on the drive through France meant they felt compelled to return home, having never crossed the border into Spain.
Paddy Gallagher, who was part of the group, said: "I'm absolutely livid. It beggars belief and it still isn't resolved.
Mr Gallagher, a 35-year-old builder from Costessey, said the 1995 Fiat Ducato cost £720 for the hire, £100 to have an extra four drivers put on the insurance and they also paid a deposit of £1,200 to cover any damage.
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They drove from Norfolk to Dover and got the ferry across to Calais, and the journey went smoothy for about 200 miles until they stopped to re-feul, and found the fuel cap was locked. Mr Gallagher said after getting approval from the campervan owner, John Hurton, they accepted an offer from some passing Liverpool fans to break off the cover so they could fill up and continue.
Then, after they had passed through Bordeaux, the campervan broke down. Mr Gallagher said: "The clutch just fell to the floor and there was nothing we could do. We knew then the ride was over for us in the campervan."
Stranded by the roadside, Mr Gallagher said they called Mr Hurton and the RAC, who had agreed to lend them a hire car and arrange accommodation in Madrid.
But Mr Gallagher said Mr Hurton stopped answering their calls, and would not authorise the RAC to bail them out of the situation, which he needed to do as the policy holder.
But Mr Hurton disputes this, and said he tried to call the group 27 times over a four-hour period. He said: "I kept calling them back but it went straight to the answer phone. I did authorise it, I told the RAC to do whatever they had to do to get them to the match."
During the day another group member, Jamie Freeman, from Dereham, became ill.
The others looked after him the best they could, and after trying unsuccessfully to make alternative plans to get to Madrid, they spent the night in a nearby hotel and flew home the next day from Bordeaux Airport, via Amsterdam. Mr Gallagher said he was now about £4,000 out of pocket due to the episode.