Road trip

MOST Manchester City supporters will feel pretty sore after Saturday’s derby defeat. But few will feel as drained as Andreas Fahlgren.

The City fan made an exhausting 36-hour car journey from his native Sweden to watch Saturday’s derby after his flight to Manchester was cancelled due to the volcanic ash which has caused havoc across Europe.

Fahlgren, who is chairman of the Swedish branch of City’s Official Supporters Club – known as Citizens Of Sweden – was one of eight fans to take on the 2,000-plus mile road trip.

However, he was left wondering whether the journey was worth it after his weekend was ruined by Paul Scholes’ late winner for Manchester United.

Fahlgren set off from his home in the Swedish town of Ornskoldsvik, around 250 miles north of the capital Stockholm, at 7pm on Thursday with three friends.

After joining another party of four Swedish City fans in Stockholm, they then headed through Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France.

The two-car party reached England via the Channel Tunnel, but there were still problems ahead – as their sat nav ended up taking them to Sheffield.

They finally reached Manchester at 7am on Saturday, less than six hours before kick-off.

“It was quite a journey, because we had some mishaps,” Fahlgren said.

“We didn’t have time to prepare too much. We just jumped in the car and went down.

“One of the problems was that we didn’t have a map, or a route planned out.

“Luckily, the guy in the other car had a GPS sat nav system.

“We got through Germany no problem. But when we got to Belgium, the GPS went crazy, because they’ve built a lot of new roads, and the sat nav wasn’t updated.

“We were lost for an hour or so – and we were booked on the Channel Tunnel train, so we couldn’t afford to be late.

“We tried to find a map in the car just to figure out where we were, and then stepped on it to get to the train. Luckily, we made it just in time.

“When we got to England, we set the GPS for Manchester. But we missed Manchester, and ended up taking a detour through Sheffield.”

Fahlgren and his friends then discovered that there is no easy way to drive from Sheffield to Manchester. There is the Woodhead Pass, and there is the Snake Pass. And there is a long detour via the M1 and M62. And that’s just about it.

He said: “We tried to get to Manchester, but all the GPS wanted to do was take us through the countryside.

“We went there and stopped halfway, thinking: ‘This can’t be right.’

“We turned around and tried to find another way, but the GPS just insisted that we go that way.

“Finally we did, and got to Manchester on Saturday morning. We were all pretty tired.”

After staying in Manchester on Saturday night, Fahlgren and his friends started the long return journey on Sunday morning.

“We took our own cars, so we have to use them to get home,” he said.

Fahlgren is hoping that next time he goes to watch a City game, he will be able to fly again.

He said: “We did this, and we’re proud to have done it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I will not do it again. I don’t think so, anyway!”

But he will be happy to cheer on City in the Champions League if they finish in the top four.

He said: “Of course I will follow them around Europe. It is a short journey to Europe! And I can take the car to Europe!”


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