Liverpool fan’s wedding to show Champions League final from WW2 NAAFI van

A Liverpool fan who booked his wedding venue 20 months ago had to improvise to find a way to show the Champions League final during the reception.

Paul Tucker, 38, from Ryde, secured a spot at the East Afton farmhouse on the Isle of Wight in October 2017 for his wedding with partner Joanna Norman, more than a year and a half before the Reds’ tie against Tottenham was finalised.

Joanna Norman and Liverpool fan Paul Tucker, who are due to get married on the day of the 2019 Champions League final
(Joanna Norman)

Once both teams had completed their semi-final comebacks against Barcelona and Ajax respectively in this year’s competition, it took a little convincing for the groom’s fiancee to agree to the deal.

“She said ‘What’s in it for me?’ as a joke,” Mr Tucker told the Press Association. “So I said ‘You’ll be the most awesome wife-to-be ever,’ and she laughed and said ‘Add on a gift and you’ve got yourself a deal.'”

With the deal in place and a handful of Liverpool and Spurs fans in attendance, the location of a screen remained a point of discussion, until an unlikely solution arrived.

“Joanna’s dad has a World War Two NAAFI van, the old canteen vans they used to feed the troops from, and he does events with it,” said Mr Tucker.

“I said ‘Could your dad bring that and maybe we could have the television in a serving hatch?’ That way it’s between the bar and the dance floor.

“I can be having a dance with people and then turn round and watch the football, so hopefully it will just make the dance floor bigger.

“(Joanna) rang her dad and he was chuffed to bits that we had asked him to bring his van to the wedding.”

A World War Two NAAFI van, which will house a television showing the 2019 Champions League final at Paul Tucker's wedding
(Joanna Norman)

With all parties satisfied the only obstacle left to navigate on the night will be the tricky topic of the result.

The main wedding party are all supposed neutrals for European football’s showpiece event, but that’s not to say Mr Tucker won’t be an easy target.

“The main people in the wedding are I think (affiliated to) Newcastle, Portsmouth and Crystal Palace,” said the groom. “But the Pompey fan has told me he will finish off the best man’s speech with ‘Come on you Spurs’.

“I don’t know if that’s true or if he’s just winding me up, but knowing him he probably will.”

Liverpool fan Paul Tucker, who is to get married on the day of the 2019 Champions League final
(Paul Tucker)

And with Liverpool favourites but pundits predicting a close contest, how would a Reds defeat affect Mr Tucker’s big day?

“If Liverpool lost I know everyone would have their five minutes of taking the mick,” he said. “I would be down but then I would click into the mindset of: I just got married to the woman I love and I’ll have a great night anyway.

“If Liverpool win as well it just makes it even better.”

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