Four dedicated Aston Villa fans embarked on a remarkable 3,000-mile journey spanning two days in a camper van to Bosnia to witness their team’s inconsequential Europa Conference League match.
A loyal fan, Chad Crocker spent two months planning this expedition for his friends Daniel, Rory, and James.
With no direct flights to Mostar and others prohibitively expensive due to stopovers, the group decided to transform their journey into a mini-adventure.
They rented a camper van for £700 and drove for 48 hours, taking breaks along the way. Their travel expenses included £350 for diesel and £140 for the LeShuttle.
Opting for a camper van meant they could bypass the need for hotel accommodations.
Their route took them through France, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Departing from Birmingham at 8 am on Tuesday (12 Dec), they arrived in Bosnia at the same time on Thursday (14 Dec), just in time for Villa’s final group match against HŠK Zrinjski Mostar. The game was of little consequence, as Villa had already secured their place in the knockout rounds, and Zrinjski had no chance of advancing.
Despite having yet to pre-arrange tickets, Chad and his friends were able to secure spots in the away end upon arrival.
The match concluded in a 1-1 draw, with Villa initially leading thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo’s 61st-minute goal but conceding a late goal to Matija Malekinusic just three minutes from time.
Chad, 32, expressed his commitment to following Villa’s away games and the extensive planning involved in this trip. The decision to go on a road trip was fueled by the desire to explore various destinations en route.
He shared their fortune in securing last-minute tickets in the away section just two hours before the game.
The group now faces the return journey, incurring an additional £350 in fuel and £110 for the ferry, bringing the total cost of their adventure, excluding spending money, to £1,650, or £412.50 each.
This five-day odyssey includes a day in Bosnia and will cover 6,000 miles.
Responses from fellow football fans ranged from admiration to playful jests. A Villa fan envied their experience, while Christine Roper applauded their effort. A Chelsea fan humorously commented on the game’s second half, and a Birmingham City supporter, a local rival, cheekily wished them vehicle trouble on their return. A Watford fan quipped about the possibility of a game cancellation due to weather.
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