We made it. To the ninth European Universities Futsal Championships, representing Great Britain in Malaga. But after all the obstacles faced so far this season, one final challenge had to be overcome. Ryanair.
Myself, Tom Day, Jonny Brown, Freddie Robinson and Jon Purdie all met at York railway station full of excitement. Jon lightened the mood by embarrassingly admitting he had had to buy a new flight this morning as his original one had been on the wrong day!
We departed confident things could only get better, but it all went downhill as soon as we arrived at Leeds Bradford airport. To start with, our coach Junior Roberti was, in the Brazilian style we’ve become accustomed to, fashionably late.
The baggage lady provided the next problem, refusing to turn a blind eye to the fact our hold luggage with all the kit in was 0.2kg over the weight limit. After some tetris-like reshuffling into our hand luggage we were on our way and cruising through security, only for our captain Tom Day to be stranded, boarding pass-less, on the wrong side.
Eventually, after a long disappearance and an expensive printing fee, he was through and we all headed towards the departure lounge. Finally, as we stood on the very top steps about to board the plane, we were sent back due to a mysterious ‘technical fault’ that would delay us by over an hour.
At long last we boarded the plane and after a three hour flight, jolted down on Spanish tarmac. At 10pm local time, we were greeted with a balmy 27 degree heat and a representative of the EUSA who took us to the shuttle buses.
We were soon en route to Antequerra, the town 40km inland where the tournament would be held. We were reunited with Dom and Ash, whose journey from Standsted was comparatively uneventful, and after some food began to appreciate our surroundings. The hotel and all its facilities were fantastic, but it was more than that.
We were here for the European Championships. We had made it.