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Spanish cousins fly 1,400 miles to see English team they 'randomly chose on FIFA'

Fernando and his six relatives travelled 1,400 miles to see Derby County after choosing them on FIFA because they 'liked the badge'.

Fernando (second from right) and his cousins Quique B, Manuel, Javier, Quique A, Jose and Gus at Derby County's Pride Park. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)
Fernando (second from right) and his cousins Quique B, Manuel, Javier, Quique A, Jose and Gus at Derby County's Pride Park. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)

A football-mad Spanish family made their first-ever trip to England to see their favourite side - after deciding to support them when they chose them on FIFA.

Fernando Batallon and his six cousins travelled to the UK on a 1,400-mile round trip from Lugo, northern Spain, to see Derby County at the weekend.

The seven Spanish supporters ‘fell in love’ with the East Midlands side after randomly selecting Derby on FIFA simply because they liked the club’s Ram crest.

After following the Rams' progress from Spain’s Galicia region since 2019, Fernando and his extended family jetted over to Derby on Saturday - where they said they had ‘the best weekend of our lives’.

Fernando and his cousins chose Derby’s League One game against Morecambe as the weekend had the cheapest flights to England - but couldn’t have planned their trip better as the Rams won 5-0.

Speaking to Derby County podcast ‘Steve Bloomer’s Washing’, Fernando, 25, said: “It all started on FIFA Career Mode. We wanted to play as a new team and start a career, but didn’t know who to pick.

Fernando (second from left) and his cousins in Derby before the game. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)
Fernando (second from left) and his cousins in Derby before the game. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)

“We decided to pick the team with the badge which we liked the most.

“I’m not sure why we liked Derby’s badge so much - but it was charming, and we all loved it instantly. We didn’t look at any other teams after that.

“In the beginning we just played as Derby on FIFA, but then we discovered there was a film about them ‘The Damned United’, we thought it was awesome, so we started researching the background and history about the club.

“We looked up their history on Google and Wikipedia, and found out they had won the league before. We thought they were a smaller club so were quite shocked!”

Fernando, who works for a law firm, said fans in Derby were ‘so friendly’ when they heard the group’s back story, and that club officials allowed them to take a picture next to Derby’s Pride Park pitch.

The group had been planning a trip to Derby since 2020, but had to delay their visit due to the COVID pandemic.

Fernando and his cousins were even allowed a picture on Derby's pitch after their trip of a lifetime. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)
Fernando and his cousins were even allowed a picture on Derby's pitch after their trip of a lifetime. (Yahoo/Fernando Batallon)

When they did arrive, however, they said their trip was ‘awesome’, and that Derby’s Pride Park was ‘way bigger’ than the stadium of their hometown club, CD Lugo.

After watching the game in Derby, they stopped off in London for one night for some sightseeing before heading back to Lugo on Sunday night.

Fernando added: “We also had to wait until we could afford it as it was an expensive weekend for us!

“When we saw Pride Park, it was way bigger than we thought. We had never seen the outside of the stadium before and it is harder to watch the games this season now they are in League One.

Fernando and his Spanish family were treated to a five star performance as their beloved Rams won 5-0 against Morecambe. (PA)
Fernando and his Spanish family were treated to a five star performance as their beloved Rams won 5-0 against Morecambe. (PA)

“The stadium was really full and it was way better than watching the game on our phones at home.

“We also knew nothing about the city of Derby, but everyone was really nice to us and we had such a great weekend.”

Fernando and his cousins perfectly-timed trip saw Derby win 5-0, their sixth consecutive league win and 15th unbeaten as they aim for promotion from League One.

The Rams’ new Spanish superfans are already planning their next trip over to England for a future fixture - and have invited Derby fans to Galicia to watch CD Lugo in return.

He added: “We haven’t decided yet but we’d really like to come back because it was so, so fun.”