This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
Booking tickets online for a major Barcelona football match should have been the start of a thrilling adventure for a man and his grandson – but it very nearly turned into a nightmare.
Andy Simpson had been planning to take his grandson, Connor, and his son-in-law, to a home game at the Nou Camp stadium during a family holiday as part of a 10th birthday treat.
He said: “I looked up the dates of the games and realised that on the day after we arrived in Tossa de Mar, Barcelona would be hosting Malaga. I looked up train times and realised we could get public transport to the stadium and back which worked really well for us.
“So after some consultation with the rest of the seven-strong party, it was agreed I would book three tickets, which I did.”
But it was only after Mr Simpson, who lives in Stretton, printed out the tickets that he realised that in the time between researching the game and booking the tickets, it had switched days because of television demands and was taking place on the night the family was due to arrive in Spain on Saturday, October 21.
He said: “The tickets cost me 268 euros and as well as letting Connor down, I realised what a waste of money it had been. There was no way we could get there on time as we weren't landing until 7.45pm and lick-off was 8.45pm.
“So I set about trying to get the money back and contacted the club to tell them about the situation but my request was refused, despite repeated emails, which made me very angry when I think of all the money that the club has – it’s awash with it.”
So that was the end of any hope of getting to the game - or so Mr Simpson thought. He said: “When we packed for the holiday, I put the tickets in my hand luggage for some reason.
“Part way over France, the pilot announced that the plane was ahead of schedule and we would be landing at 30 minutes earlier than scheduled at about 7.15pm.
“The game was due to start at 8.45pm and we realised that might still be a chance to get to the game if we took a taxi from Girona airport to the game, leaving the others to grab the luggage and head for Tossa de Mar as planned.”
Mr Simpson, Connor - who is a Burton Albion fan - and his dad, got through passport control, hailed a cab and found themselves at the stadium as the whistle blew for the start of the game.
“But because it took us about 10 minutes to get to our seat, we missed the first goal after two minutes. But we saw another one later and Barcelona won 2-0, said Mr Simpson, who runs Strategic Artist Management.
“Connor was delighted, especially as he saw Messi play. It ended up costing us another 150 euros because we took the taxis, which was way more than we wanted to spend but it was worth it.
“But I am still angry that Barcelona refused to refund any of the money and when I made inquiries in this country, there did not seem anyone who wanted to help out with the situation either.
“So anyone booking tickets like we did – check first that you can get there because you won’t be able to get your money back – not even as a goodwill gesture.”