'This is a great excuse for lads to visit Amsterdam' - Irish bar boss bringing fans to Euro 2016 via 'scenic' route
With flights to Paris, Bordeaux and Lille now reaching eye-watering levels this Irish superfan has arranged a novel approach to getting to Euro 2016.
Steven Krijger (35) runs the popular Molly Malones bar in Amsterdam and this weekend he will open his doors to around 400 travelling Irish fans for a massive Bon Voyage party.
The following day Steven and pal Alan Clarke will put around 75 of those, hangovers permitting, on a double-decker bus for a seven-hour journey to Paris.
The bar boss, who is half Dutch "but 100% Irish fan", explained that the whole thing is working out much cheaper for the fans.
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"Flights to France are extremely expensive at the moment. Some of the lads are only paying €60 to get in to Amsterdam.
"This is a great excuse for lads to visit Amsterdam. Normally some of them wouldn't get permission from the wives or the girlfriends to go to the sin city but they can say 'hey, it's much cheaper'," he laughed.
The bus to Paris is a steal at just €27.50 per person and Steven promised that the atmosphere will be electric on board. "We will have DVDs of old games, singing and music. It won't be like public transport where you have to keep quiet."
However he explained that while the Irish fans are free to enjoy any of the legal vices in Amsterdam, this must all be left behind at the border.
"We have a simple rule. If the bus is stopped because you have drugs then we will go on and leave you there. The bus waits for no man or woman."
Steven will be travelling to the tournament with his wife Muriel, son Sean (5) and one-year-old daughter Amy. Despite their young ages, Steven's children are already seasoned Irish fans. Sean has been to ten away games while Amy travelled to watch Martin O'Neill's side play Gibraltar in Portugal last summer.
Following the Ireland and Sweden game a total of ten buses, organised by Steven and Alan, will head next Tuesday, June 14, to the coastal town of La Rochelle. Up to 2,500 Irish fans will base themselves in the town for the time around the Ireland and Belgium clash which takes place in Bordeaux - two hours south of La Rochelle.
The town will also be the venue for a charity fans game organised by the You Boys In Green (YBIG) website in memory of late Irish journalist Carl O'Malley.
Former Ballon d'Or winner Jean Pierre Papin has also got involved and is expected to dust off the boots and take part in the match while the Irish team are hoping to get a former international on board.
- Read More: Irish fans to play French counterparts and Ballon d'Or winner in charity match for late Irish journalist
Steven said the town offers cheaper prices for fans and there promises to be a party atmosphere on the streets. The group are also arranging buses to and from Bordeaux on match day, June 18.
He will not be arranging buses to Lille but said he plans to fly back to Amsterdam with his family and travel down to the north eastern French city for the Ireland and Italy game on June 22.
"We are getting very excited now. We will be heading to Lille and who knows from there."
If you want to get in touch with Steven and join the adventure you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
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