Greatest Irish fan counts €500k cost of devotion
Published 06/06/2016 | 02:30
Ireland will aim to make European Championship history in France, cheered on by arguably their greatest fan.
Retired garda Jim Ryan has spent more than €500,000 over the past 40 years following his beloved Green Army.
He was at the 1988 European Championships in Germany, the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy, the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA, the 2002 World Cup finals in Korea and Japan and the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Now he hopes to attend all three (so far) of Ireland's Euro 2016 matches in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille.
He said: "I think France will be a fabulous venue for the finals and the bonus for fans is that it isn't too far away, it is a beautiful country to visit and there are plenty of affordable travel options."
Jim doesn't drink, smoke or gamble and has an incredible passion for Irish sport, ranging from soccer to GAA and taking in athletics and boxing.
He reckons the total mileage he has clocked up following the Green Army would equate to a return trip to the moon.
Jim admits that he has probably spent more than €500,000 on his soccer adventures around the world when travel, hotels, meals, jerseys, souvenirs and excursions are taken into account.
However, he said: "But you keep the memories long after you've forgotten the cost. Some people spend a lot more sitting in the pub over their lives.
"The only place I would be reluctant to go back to would be Russia and that was only down to the threat posed to fans by the hooligans and thugs there," he said.