I was punched in the head by rowdy Man City fans during boozy trip to see Chelsea win Champions League

 LAST weekend ten of us went on a fathers and sons’ day trip to Porto, to watch the Champions League final. In a private jet we’d chartered.

Obviously, you’re now thinking, “It’s all right for some” and ­hoping it all went wrong. Well, don’t worry — it did.

Fun and games with City fans, who punched me in the head
Fun and games with City fans, who punched me in the headCredit: SWNS

After a flight where the refreshment flowed, we had a long lunch in the Portuguese sunshine, which meant I was quite cheerful when we arrived at the stadium.

So cheerful, in fact, that I got separated from my party and found myself surrounded by some good-natured City fans who decided to express their good-naturedness by punching me in the side of the head.

It took ten minutes to convince a policeman that it was just ­joshing that had gone a bit wrong and that no one needed to go to the station. 

And then I had to spend another ten minutes watching an ambulanceman move his finger around to convince himself that I didn’t need to go to the hospital either.

But eventually, I wobbled into the stadium to do 97 minutes of excitable shouting.

Then, after Chelsea had lifted the cup, we scuttled off to the minibus for a quick trip to the airport and our flight home.

Celebrating Chelsea’s Champions League win in Porto
Celebrating Chelsea’s Champions League win in PortoCredit: SWNS
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz lifts the famous trophy
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz lifts the famous trophyCredit: AP


The driver was trying to explain in broken English something about going to a hotel but we couldn’t really understand what he was saying, and couldn’t hear properly anyway, because we were singing too much.

This was a pity as it turned out he was saying that we needed to go to a hotel because our plane was broken.

So after we’d been to the ­airport, and found that out for ourselves, we went back into town, found ten rooms in something called a “wine and business” hotel and headed straight to the bar. Which was shut because of the Portuguese 10.30pm curfew.

We discovered, however, that they could do room service so we pointed out that technically the bar was a “room” and, as a result, they could bring the drinks there. 

They agreed, but by then it was late and we’d entered the familiar drink and happiness-induced grey zone where all you really want to do is go to bed.

 I was losing count at this point of how many First World problems we were having to overcome.

The next morning, the plane was still broken, and all the scheduled flights back to the UK were full, apart from easyJet, who could get one of us into Gatwick at sh*t o’clock in the ­morning.

 So we wouldn’t be going home until the next day . . . by which time our 72-hour Covid passes would have expired.

And there’s more. We’d read ­stories that the Home Office was predicting four-hour queues for people returning from abroad this summer, and airport staff claims that actually the wait would be more like ten hours.

And we really didn’t fancy doing that with out-of-date papers and the promise of either being sent back to Portugal, or despatched to a Premier Inn to hunker down with Lenny Henry for a week.

To get new Covid certification, we had to go to a test centre half an hour from the hotel, which meant I had to go in a taxi driven by a woman who was incredibly surprised every time she changed gear. And even more surprised when the traffic lights changed colour. Jerky didn’t begin to cover the net result.

To make matters worse, she was using two mobiles while driving, one as a map and one as a device for texting. 

Not since Rick ­Wakeman hung up his cloak has anyone ever operated so many keys simultaneously. 

I sat in the back of her small Renault, sweating buckets, with a car-sicky face, a hangover and a bruised head, disappointed that my luxury weekend wasn’t going quite as well as I’d hoped.

Still, after queueing for just two hours, we had taken our tests and were ready to go. But the plane was still broken.

Being men, we decided the only solution was to repair to a riverside bar and spend the afternoon drinking some more beer.

And after several hours of this, I came up with another plan which was: To charter another jet.

Before punching me in the head, the good-natured City fans had called me a “rent boy”, and to pay for this second plane it looked like I might have to become one.

Especially as the tickets for the game had cost £515 . . . each!! And that brings us on to an important point if you are ­thinking of taking a holiday abroad this summer.

You may think it’s going to be easy, because an “amber” warning is no kind of warning at all.

True. But the fact is that you have to take a test before you go — that’s £150. And then two more, when you get back. 

That’s £450, in testing alone.

Our private jet broke down at the airport
Our private jet broke down at the airportCredit: Getty - Contributor
Despite everything, I had a ­better time than Noel Gallagher
Despite everything, I had a ­better time than Noel GallagherCredit: The Sun


And when you get back, government agents will monitor your whereabouts, making sure you are where you said you’d be on the ridiculous box-ticking locator forms. 

Think Nazi Germany and you’re on the right track.Is it worth it? Well Portugal is a lovely country and Porto is a beautiful city, but the fact of the matter is that it was 21 degrees over there. And it was 24 degrees when we got back to Britain, ­having landed in Birmingham at two in the morning.

Nothing wrong with Birmingham of course. Except that all our cars were 70 miles away, at the airport in Oxford.

All things considered then, I would not recommend foreign travel at the moment.

Because even with private jets and credit cards, we had all sorts of problems.

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