Triumphant football teams often celebrate success with an open-top bus tour, but one group of winning schoolboys had the next best thing after being cheered home at Peterborough Station following a horrible trip home from Dortmund.
A cancelled easyJet flight led to parents forking out an additional £7,000 to get the Feeder Soccer under-13s (and coaches and parents) home on Sunday after they had won a big tournament in Germany.
The group of 22 were thankful to parent Victoria Morris who organised for them to get the train from Dortmund to Brussels, before taking the Eurostar to London, then heading on another train to Peterborough where they were met with parents waving banners.
Troy Peters, who coaches the team at the Nene Valley Community Centre in Woodston, said: “We got back Sunday afternoon and the parents had banners up and champagne, and even the train station announcer said ‘can you give Feeder Soccer a big round of applause’.”
The grand welcome was a far cry from Saturday evening when they discovered their 9.30pm flight from Dortmund to Luton had been cancelled due to a “technical fault”.
Troy said: “We got to the airport for one person to be sitting on the desk who said they had flights on Tuesday, but we couldn’t do that.”
Despite their tiredness, the team made the best of the situation by enjoying a sing-song when talented pianist George Dann found a piano at the airport to play on.
And they were fortunate that Victoria, who works in the travel industry, was at home in Werrington and able to help get everyone back, including her son Miles and husband Graham who were on the trip.
She recalled: “They said they could not get them on a flight until Tuesday which was clearly not any good, so I looked into different ways to get them home. Flying was just not an option.
“The train journeys cost about £7,000 so my credit card took a bit of a bashing! Other parents also chipped in.
“It all took several hours and it was pretty much a sleepless night on Saturday.”
The team, who also recently won the PFA Under-13 Cup at Peterborough United’s ABAX Stadium, were put up in a hotel on Saturday night by easyJet and had little sleep before starting their 10-hour journey home, where they received their great reception.
“It was amazing,” added Victoria. “The boys and dads were truly overwhelmed.”
Victoria is now pushing easyJet to try and have the £7,000 reimbursed, but has so far not received a response. The budget airline has also not yet responded to a request from the Peterborough Telegraph for comment. Troy added: “I’m disappointed in the way they handled it - they did not seem to care. I hope everyone gets their money back.”