I've read Paul Traill's excellent report on his trip to Cyprus, but I thought I would give a report on my own experiences.
As expected, there was no club trip to this game, so I hurriedly had to book flights and accommodation. As my mates had already booked their own flights and accommodation well in advance, I was travelling on my own.
Due to the early morning drive to Manchester airport, I decided to leave the car there, also knowing I would be back late on Friday night. The jet2.com flight to Paphos was about three quarters full, mainly of blues. The in-light catering done a roaring trade in Stella, but knowing I faced a two hour bus trip from Paphos to Nicosia, I didn't fancy sitting on the bus, legs crossed, for two hours, so decided against a can or two.
During the flight, I managed to get in with some lads who had a pre-booked taxi waiting for them, as I believe it could have been as much as €40 to the bus station from the airport. All the driver wanted was €7 to drop me at the bus station. I still had an hour to wait for the bus. The bus was only €7 to Nicosia, but, as Paul says, it was like their life depended on getting there in double-quick time. This was a proper bus as well, but it was still like wacky races on the motorway to Nicosia. I arrived in Nicosia at 9pm, met Dave who showed me to the same hotel we had booked into, then out for a few. The Spurs Champions League game was on the telly, so we watched that before I decided to call it a day.
On Thursday afternoon we took our passports with us to cross the border into the Turkish region of Nicosia. It seemed the ale was cheaper here. A litre of Efes was €3. We only had the one before crossing back. As the day wore on, you could feel the temperature dropping quickly, so I went back to the hotel to change into me jeans and get a fleece I took, purely on Dave's advice, who had been in Nicosia since the Monday and he informed me that it was Baltic in the evening. Whilst at the hotel, I enquired about a direct bus to Paphos airport. I was told a company, Travel Express, runs to Paphos for €11. Happy days I thought, but more on that.
After a couple of pints, we jumped a bus to the stadium, about 5 miles away. It really was freezing in the stadium, but a decent performance by the team compensated for the cold. Things got better after the game, as another mate of ours, who came with someone in a hired car from Paphos, got us a lift back down to the city centre. We headed to the bar we had been in on Wednesday night, finally calling it a day at about 2am.
Friday morning, me and Dave missed breakfast in the hotel so went out to get something. Wasn't really feeling up to eating but managed to force it down. I was asked to be ready at the hotel for 1:30pm for the journey back to Paphos, Dave was flying from Larnaca, so I bid farewell and headed back.
The minibus pulled up and off we set. After a few further pick-ups, we headed off to Paphos, or so I thought. The driver pulled off the motorway at Limassol and, with a little tour thrown in, he dropped a few off. The traffic in Limassol was horrendous, but I still had about 5 hours before my flight so was not duly concerned. Suddenly a girl sitting by me said that the driver was going to drop me off. The minibus pulled up, and the driver explained to me, with difficulty I might add, that because he still had others to drop off, it could be a while before getting back on the motorway to Paphos, but he assured me it would only be for 10 minutes before another bus would pick me up.
As the minibus had radios I assume this was being arranged, although obviously I didn't have a clue about it. Anyway, foolishly, I got out and was told not to move from where I was dropped. 10 minutes goes by, and nothing. 20 minutes became 30 minutes which became 40 minutes. By now I'm starting to panic, thinking how I'm getting back to Paphos? A taxi could have been God knows how much, and I didn't have a clue where to get a bus?
Then all of a sudden, the bus turned up. The relief poured out of me. I got to the airport at about 4:45pm, thanked the driver and walked away. He called me back saying I needed to pay €12. As I said earlier, I thought it was €11 all the way, but that was only as far as Limassol. I paid the €12 as I didn't really fancy a confrontation with the driver, especially as there were about 15 police with guns nearby.
The flight was due to leave at 21:10 and did so pretty much on time. We arrived back at Manchester at 00:20, got to my car and finally got home at 1:40am.
So five great European aways comes to an end, spoiled only by the performance and results in one or two, well okay in four of them. The support has been absolutely magnificent, who didn't deserve some of the garbage that was served up. Let's hope big Sam can pull off some kind of miracle and get us back into Europe next season.
Reader Comments (15)
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1 Posted 10/12/2017 at 01:25:23
Another brilliant article. So jealous with me being in New Zealand. I collect EFC souvenirs and wondered if there was an official programme issued and finally would you have a used ticket stub to sell? Cheers.
2 Posted 10/12/2017 at 02:45:46
3 Posted 10/12/2017 at 05:37:40
4 Posted 10/12/2017 at 08:16:31
I love it when you casually drop in that you have met a couple of mates, or in this case "got in" with new ones.
I have travelled to away games home and abroad in the past, even driven buses to them, so I recognise the "family" you speak of, but I never came close to doing what you do. Giving up about a week of your time for two dead rubbers???
You, my friend, are bananas. You're crazy, your off your head, but everyone reading this will feel very proud of you. You belong to a rare breed, this is why you always recognise each other, no matter where you go.
Thanks for these reports, I've really enjoyed them.
You're off to the dark side of the moon today mate, but at least you'll be back for your dinner.
5 Posted 10/12/2017 at 08:39:55
If you look of the money in the game, I think the club should pay some of your costs just for your loyalty and dedication. Or maybe Sam could give you 0.1% (£6k) of his salary just to help out some travelling fans. God if every player did this, just 0.1% of salary into a Away Fans Fund, fans who need it could travel with the team. Imagine it! A manager and players giving a shit about those who make that effort.
6 Posted 10/12/2017 at 08:52:42
Next time we are in Europe, I'll look forward to all the stories right up to the final!!!
7 Posted 10/12/2017 at 09:08:08
It looks like the snow is trying to start, but I cant believe Darren, saying you will be home for your dinner though Rob, because im hoping you have got to fry it up tomorrow!
8 Posted 10/12/2017 at 09:46:06
9 Posted 10/12/2017 at 13:08:09
10 Posted 10/12/2017 at 13:20:46
Tremendous reading Rob.
I'm jealous mate reading it.
Never used to miss Europe trips when I was younger. Don't get to many nowadays.
Made some great mates back in the early 80s who I still see at the game now.
Used to do all the pre season tours. One of my favourites was to Dordrecht when we played in a tournament with an Italian team (Genoa?) FC dordrecht and another I can't remember.
I hope we get something today more for you Rob and the lads who don't miss a game, and the kids.
11 Posted 10/12/2017 at 18:42:01
I'm still in Cyprus by the way and not looking forward to returning to snow.
12 Posted 10/12/2017 at 22:13:50
See you at Newcastle.
13 Posted 12/12/2017 at 14:36:28
Just back from Cyprus yesterday and a mad day today catching up with work so only just posting this now. I've searched to see if anyone else has commented on this but I can't see any posts and I couldn't let this go unremarked on.
Did anyone else see Mirallas's hand gestures towards the Everton fans after both of the first half goals? Basically he made a 'wankers' gesture in our general direction both times under the cover of the celebration. It was very 'blink and you miss it' but a few of the lads standing around me saw it. We were fucking furious so I'm surprised no-one has commented on it. Maybe there were no 'ToffeeWebers' near me.
Of course I can't be sure what he was meaning. Perhaps he thinks Lookman is a wanker? Maybe he was referring to the Cypriots? It seems most likely though that he was referring to us fans. If he really did then it's disgraceful. The money he is on to play for us and that's what he thinks of the fans who've taken 2 or 3 days off work and spent all the Christmas money on a meaningless match just to show support and loyalty to the team.
Just to make it even more confusing he made a big effort to applaud us at the end, threw his shirt to the crowd and was actually the last man down the tunnel.
It's been bugging me since Thursday. If anyone else saw anything would appreciate hearing what you thought!
If he did do it he can fuck off out – relegation fight or not. No excuse for that.
14 Posted 12/12/2017 at 15:12:11
I've been of the persuasion that Mirallas should have been shipped out ages ago. For me, the foreboding sign regarding his selfish temperament was revealed when he missed the penalty against West Brom back in January 2015. Martinez was relieved of his duties in the May and, in addition to his bad tactics it was players like Mirallas who shirked their collective responsibilities and he has done so since.
15 Posted 13/12/2017 at 19:16:53
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