By MIRIAM BRETT
A GROUP of 12 enormously dedicated Manchester City fans eventually made it to Faroe for a UEFA Cup qualifier this week, having at one stage feared they would be stranded in Lerwick for the match, thanks to the intervention of an airline and a tabloid newspaper.
The enthusiastic bunch set out earlier this week on what they described as “the trip of a lifetime”, leaving Manchester for an eight-hour drive to Aberdeen and embarking on the Northlink ferry on Tuesday evening.
They arrived in Shetland on Wednesday morning and the original plan was to complete the trip to Faroe by “braving the high seas” with a 26-hour journey on the deep sea trawler Three Sisters, which they had hired at a cost of £285 a head.
The boat was to be skippered by Skerries man Ewan Anderson, but strong winds and high seas meant the trip could not go ahead and the dedicated fans feared they were stranded in Lerwick with nothing but a massive supply of beer, provided by football magazine Four Four Two.
That was until Faroese airline Atlantic Airways stepped in at the last minute with an offer to fly the stranded supporters from Sumburgh Airport to Faroe on Wednesday evening, meaning the fans could still see their idols in action against EB Sreymur last night.
The company’s managing director Magne Arge offered the plane at cost price and came up with a crew at short notice for the 90-minute flight, with The Sun newspaper chipping in to charter the aircraft.
He said: “We agreed to help these Manchester City supporters because there was a great interest in the event in the Faroes with Manchester City here and this is a great opportunity for us to show that there is a fine airline based in Faroe that can serve both Faroe and the Shetland Islands.”
One of the travelling blues, Leighton Gilbert, said he thought there was “one hundred per cent not a chance it could have happened like this”. He added: “A big thank you to everybody who has taken part to get this for us. It’s really appreciated by everybody going to the game.”