Liverpool fans hire speedboat to get to France for Champions League after easyJet cancel flight
‘We saw a few dolphins on the way and got the train to Rennes and then to Paris,’ says one fan
A group of Liverpool fans have travelled to France in a speedboat to watch their team battle Real Madrid in the Champions League final after their Easyjets flights were cancelled.
As many Reds were hit by travel chaos amid a wave of Easyjet cancellations, a group of a dozen fans resorted to making their own way across the Channel from Jersey to Saint Malo on Friday.
Footage showed the men approaching the French coast in blustery conditions, blasting Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, as one on the boat remarked: “We must be off our f****** heads.”
Paddy O’Toole, who lives in Jersey, said that his son’s friends – from Huyton, Merseyside – had their flights to Paris cancelled, so had driven to Heathrow, where they still found “nothing”.
So they flew to Jersey instead, “met up with us and asked could we get them to France,” Mr O’Toole told the Liverpool Echo. “We felt sorry for the young lads so we had to do something.”
Mr O’Toole called a friend who owns Le Mourier a swimming school in Jersey with several speedboats, and before long the group all set off in a 12-person Redbay Stormforce 950.
“We saw a few dolphins on the way and got the train to Rennes and then to Paris. A few more of our mates from Liverpool who live in Jersey heard we were going and joined on. We haven’t got a ticket between us,” he told the paper.
They were not the only Liverpool fans to travel to Paris by inventive means.
Simon Wilson, a vlogger from Wrexham, bought the cheapest coach he could find for £5,000, allowing him to take some 50 supporters from Anfield to the French capital for just £1 each in order to avoid “extortionate” travel fees.
Describing it as “one of the toughest things I've ever done”, Mr Wilson said that the original coach had to be replaced and the ferry to cross at Dover had to be pushed back as they were behind schedule.
“Along the way there have been some worried faces, people expecting to get to Paris and thinking we wouldn't, but I always had faith, despite all the challenges we've had. I've never had so little sleep in all my life, I've managed a few hours, but it was worth it,” he said.
“Now we can soak up the atmosphere here before the game.”
Tens of thousands of Liverpool fans have descended upon the French capital as Jurgen Klopp’s team take on 13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid at the Stade de France.
A huge sea of red shirts surrounded the Cours de Vincennes area in the south-east area of the city during the morning, where a fan zone has been set up.
As many as 50,000 supporters, largely ticketless, began gathering early in the day in the Cours de Vincennes area, where a fan zone has been set up, with footballs kicked into the air, banners flown and flares let off.
Thousands of Liverpool supporters in the fan zone in Paris
(Jacob King/PA Wire)
The huge sea of red shirts then sang the club’s well-recognised anthem “You'll Never Walk Alone”, club legend Kenny Dalglish took to a stage to tell the crowd how remarkable Liverpool’s season had been.
Easyjet has cancelled hundreds of flights this week following a software failure, and is set to cancel another 200 at least over the next 10 days, in disruption which is set to affect some 24 flights each day from London’s Gatwick airport.
The airline said the cancellations were “necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period”.
Additional reporting by PA