A Tottenham season ticket holder and three members of his family endured a two-day journey across the continent in a hatchback car after being put off by sky-high airfares between the UK and Madrid for the Champions League final.
Kieran Knight, 24, set off with father Mark, and brothers Rhys and Marcus, from Billericay in Essex at 5am on Thursday, arriving in Madrid around 36 hours later after stopping overnight in the French resort of Biarritz.
The quartet missed their initial slot on the Eurotunnel, then endured further delays before arriving in France with a flat battery.
But the Spurs fan is confident the 1,000-mile journey in the Volkswagen Golf GTI Sport was worth it – and said he would not sell his ticket, bought at face value, at any price.
Describing his route to Madrid as he arrived in the Spanish capital ahead of Tottenham’s Champions League final match with Liverpool, Mr Knight told the Press Association: “It’s been quite a long one.
“We were supposed to be on the Eurotunnel at 6.50am, but stupidly we didn’t research it and we got there five minutes to departure so realised we couldn’t get on that one.
“The train then broke down in the tunnel so we were delayed an hour – in a train, no alcohol, no signal, it was quite boring.
“We arrived in France at about 8am French time and the car battery broke down so we eventually had to get pushed off.
“We had a 10-hour journey, we stopped in Biarritz, about 500 miles, which was a long way.
“We woke up Friday morning, had a dip in the sea, and left at 9am. It took a bit longer than we expected.
“We had a very dodgy potato omelette baguette, which as you can imagine was disgusting. We had some beer, some good chats, and arrived here at 4pm.
“We arrived a day before the game, and we are enjoying it.”
The fuel cost was just a fraction of the air travel fees quoted moments after Liverpool and Tottenham confirmed their places in the final.
Mr Knight said his ticket cost £154, but that friends had paid in excess of £1,500 for theirs – something he said seemed like a bargain compared with the price on the black market.
“If someone was to offer me £10,000 for my ticket, anyone outside of football would be like: ‘yes, you’d be completely mad for saying no’.
“But football is our passion, this is the biggest stage of them all. We earn money to do things we enjoy – this is my passion, this is what I enjoy.
“If we did do it and we won, I’d never forgive myself. Trying to tell people in the future, ‘yes we won the Champions League in 2019 and I sold my ticket’ – it’s a lot of money but there’s no amount of money I would sell my ticket for.”
Mr Knight said Spurs’ fortunes tonight would be the deciding factor on how enjoyable the return journey was.
“If we win, we would talk about the game, watch videos, listen to the radio,” he said.
“I haven’t thought about the prospect of losing.
“I have to work on Tuesday. Ideally, we would have rather flown but the price was just obscene.
“If we win, we could leave at 4pm; if we lose, we can just get up and leave the city.
“We will probably do a night in France, either commiserating or celebrating.”