Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Monday October 1 2012
Stoke City supporters have received compensation after a nightmare trip to Valencia.
Several Stoke fans were illegally detained and were refused travel on a Spanish airline in February whilst trying to watch their club in the Europa League last 32.
The supporters have received €250 each; the standard EU compensation for a journey of that length.
A handful of the Potters followers flew out to Madrid from Heathrow and had booked their selves on to another flight to get them to Valencia with Iberia airlines.
One of the Stoke City fans that were left stranded, Dr Neil Bailey said: "We were told that we weren't booked onto the flight that we had intended to fly on and would have to get a later flight.
"We had to accept seats on a flight at 21.30, our original flight was meant to leave at 15.30."
Dr Bailey and his travel companions initially inquired about using the high speed bullet train from Madrid to Valencia but decided against the move as it would cost €80 per person, so embarked on a tour of Madrid whilst they waited for their 6 hour delayed flight.
The Potters faithful were finally allowed to board their flight to Valencia at 22.30, an hour later than advertised, but after a 25 minute delay on the runway, the passengers were asked to leave the plane.
After departing the aeroplane, Stoke City supporters were met by 20-30 Civil Guard armed in riot gear and were ushered on to a separate bus to their Spanish co-passengers.
Dr Bailey, 49, said: "Many fans had their passports taken off them and we were taken back to the airport building.
"After another delay of 30 minutes locked in a bus adjacent to the terminal, with the Civil Guard prowling around, we were taken inside.
"Our passports were returned and we were informed that there we no more flights that evening, but if we returned in the morning we 'might' get a flight to Valencia."
After being detained illegally and suffering another setback on their task of arriving at their desired destination, Dr. Bailey and his travel party attempted to end their journey from hell by catching a taxi to Valencia.
"We managed to get a taxi to take us to Valencia. It took 4 hours and cost €320!
"We eventually got to our hotel at 04.30, almost 24 hours after getting up in London the previous day," explained Dr. Bailey, a General Practitioner from Alsager.
Despite a horrendous journey to get to Valencia to watch Stoke at the Mestalla, Neil & his travel companions didn`t allow this to ruin their trip.
"Thursday was a wonderful sunny day capped off by going to the match, a truly unforgettable experience for anyone who was there.
"The best efforts of Iberia certainly couldn't ruin that, but I would crawl/swim/burrow rather than fly with them again."
Date:Monday October 1 2012
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