Stoke City fans make epic 500-mile Düsseldorf trip in taxi for England match

Four determined Stoke City fans have made a 500-mile trip from the Potteries to Germany in a taxi for England's crunch Euro clash - after their flight was cancelled. Pals John Powell, Mario Ferranti, Brett Barlow,and his son Oliver, turned to a Shelton firm to keep their dream of seeing the quarter final alive.

And today the football supporters were on the road from Stoke-on-Trent to Düsseldorf ahead of England's Euro 2024 quarter-final game against Switzerland. It equates to a 1,000-mile round-trip with the taxi firm even waiting for the game to end before whisking them back to North Staffordshire.

John, aged 46, of Endon, Mario, aged 40, of Baddeley Green, Brett , aged 47, and his son Oliver, aged 17, of Brown Edge, were due to fly to the German city from East Midlands Airport last night (July 5). However they learned their flight was cancelled late on Wednesday.

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After looking at every possible way to get to the match they rang Arshad Mohammed, of Shelton-based Cosy Cruise Travel Limited, who agreed to drive them there in his taxi - despite it being more than a 1,000-mile round trip. John, director of Potteries Mechanical Services Limited, told StokeonTrentLive: "We booked a sports package, a football plane, where everybody on the flight was to go to the match. But we had an e-mail saying it had been cancelled on Wednesday evening. We should have gone last night (Friday).

"We just looked at every possibility to try and get the four of us there together. We looked at trains, planes, there was just nothing that was viable for a reasonable price.

"So, just off the cuff, somebody said, 'What about getting a taxi'? We rang Arshad and he said yes. We have agreed a certain price but we are on a meter. We are going to the match and coming straight back after."

John said they had a good journey to Dusseldorf, setting off at midnight and taking the shuttle train across the channel. He added: "We got the refund from the company we booked with. We still had the tickets to the match. We follow England all over. We needed to come to this one.

"I am pretty optimistic. If all goes well we will need to do the same trip on Wednesday."

Brett Barlow added: "There was no way we were missing the match. We are going to get a few German beers in.

"We are knackered but hopefully we are going to win. It is a bit of adrenalin. Until Thursday we did not know how we were getting here. We have been all around the world with England. We went to Qatar. We were not missing this on our doorstep.

"We are hoping to be back in the Potteries just before midday tomorrow (Sunday)."

Ashad, aged 44, manager of Cosy Cruise Travel Limited, said: "They are regular customers and use us for airports.

"The customers have booked me a hotel. As soon as I get there I am going to get my head down. I am going to catch up on some sleep, freshen up and go back for them after the match.

"I am delighted to be able to help my customers. It is a bit of a different job, a bit of a new experience. It is my first venture abroad in the taxi. Maybe I will be in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest taxi fare going."

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