Euro 2016: Superfan Stories

Euro 2016: Superfan Stories

By 24/05/2016 Football, Euro 2016

They say money won’t buy you happiness, let alone victory. But it could put you under the same piece of French sky as your home squad while they battle it out at Euro 2016. And we reckon that’s as close to euphoria as anyone on this sweet earth can get.

These dedicated supporters have gone the extra mile so they can be there to embrace the complete emotional experience, from the tragedy to the triumph, live at this year’s tournament. Read on to learn about the three superfans who will do whatever it takes in order to reach the dream of Euro 2016.

Parrish Walton, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Pictured: Parrish (left) and his brother Derek

It’s taken two and a half years of planning and saving, but Parrish Walton and his brother, Derek, will soon travel the 4,382 miles that lie between Atlanta and Paris to launch their Euro 2016 scheme.

“This trip came up in conversation in December of 2013, and we began putting away some money each month soon thereafter,” Parrish says. It’s been an epic countdown ever since.

“This trip came up in conversation in December of 2013, and we began putting away some money each month soon thereafter,” Parrish says.

Nearly 30 months later and they’ll be on their way, headed to France to watch four games live at the tournament: Spain vs Croatia, Portugal vs Hungary and two of the Round of 16 matches.

His loyalty lies with France, and Parrish says he’s hoping to see his team play in Lyon’s new stadium. However, he can’t help but admit a soft spot for Portugal’s star striker: “Ronaldo live and in person is something I can’t wait to see.”

Parrish, who works as a copywriter, says he has spent about half of his annual holiday leave on this trip – and that’s not all. Though the brothers booked their seats as soon as the airline released them and will be staying with family whilst they’re in Paris, Parrish says it’s a good thing they started saving early.

“Between flight costs and hotels and tickets, it won’t be cheap,” he says.

They plan on making the most of their trip by taking in the sights as well as attending the fan zones. Parrish says he’s most looking forward to exploring France and spending some quality European time with his brother.

“And awesome soccer, of course,” he adds.

Whatever name you call it, we’re sure it certainly will be awesome.

Ostap Kukhar, living in — USA, originally from Ukraine

Pictured: Ostap Kukhar

Would you voyage across the Atlantic to cheer on a team with 80/1 odds?

Well, that’s exactly what Ostap Kukha, a student in the USA, is doing this year – from June 11-25, he’ll be in France, watching Ukraine battle it out against Northern Ireland, Germany and Poland at Euro 2016.

With plans to travel with his family, he’s been looking forward to it since they booked tickets in December. A cousin from Ukraine will make the trek across Europe to meet them at the tournament, provided he can obtain a visa to gain entry into France.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford the accommodation and I would probably stay in a hostel,” he says. “My tickets to the games would also have to be cheaper.”

“This trip was a gift from my parents,” Ostap says. “I always wanted to go to a major soccer tournament.”

Originally from Ukraine, Ostap says if he was still living there and had to fund the holiday himself it would be a completely different experience.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford the accommodation and I would probably stay in a hostel,” he says. “My tickets to the games would also have to be cheaper.”

“I think I would still go, though,” he adds.

He is most excited for the Ukraine vs Poland game, which is set to pit two evenly-matched sides against each other in their last game of the group stage.

“It will probably be win or go home for both teams. The two countries also have complex relationship,” he says.

Ostap plans to make the most of his long-haul journey, visiting Paris and Marseille, and taking a road-trip along the south coast during his stay. However, what he’s really buzzing for is the footballing experience.

“The fans, atmosphere, meeting people from all over the world,” he says. “I think the games will be close and I hope I will be celebrating victories with my compatriots.”

And what if those odds start to look a little bit friendlier?

“I would strongly consider coming back.”

Two journeys across the Atlantic in the space of a month? Now that’s a superfan.

And what about the rest of us?

We, who drink weak tea in leaky stadiums. Strain our necks to glimpse the screen through the jungle of heads in the pub. Get told off for being late to Sunday lunch.

We, who feel crushing disappointment and overwhelming joy in endless cycles. Who curse, cheer, cry, and then order another beer.

It has all led up to this.

Wherever you are, we hope you can make the most of Euro 2016. Odds are, it’s going to be a tournament to remember.