Monday 24 October 2016

'You're just a small town in Belgium': Wales fan in epic sat-nav blunder

Published 01/07/2016 | 13:31

The family managed to get to the fanzone in time for the match
The family managed to get to the fanzone in time for the match
Wales football fan Ian Williams with his partner Helen and their four-month-old daughter Florence (Ian Williams /PA)

A football-mad family from Wales set off to see the Euros in Lille - but ended up in the wrong Lille more than a hundred miles away, thanks to a sat-nav mix-up.

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Ian and Helen Williams had been due to go to the city in northern France after buying tickets for the Russia v Slovakia game before heading to the fanzone the following day to watch Wales take on England.

The Swansea couple and their four-month-old daughter, Florence, flew into the Belgian city of Brussels before aiming to drive the short journey across the border to France.

However, their plans backfired after they put "Lille" into a hire car's sat-nav - not realising there are two Lilles in Europe.

Instead of ending up in the French city, the Williams family found themselves in a small and little-known Belgium town.

Mr Williams said: "When the sat-nav said we had arrived at our destination we could not see any football fans. The place was like a ghost town - all there was were small shops and Belgium flags."

After realising the mishap, the 37-year-old then turned around and drove the 200km (125 miles) back to France - but by that time it was too late, and the family had missed the game they had bought tickets for on June 15.

"I was really gutted," he added.

"I've still got the tickets for the Russia v Slovakia game in my wallet.

"Luckily, we managed to get to the fanzone to see the Wales game as planned - even if the result wasn't what we'd hoped for."

But further insult followed injury later after an airport baggage handlers' strike saw the couple fork out 300 euro (£248) for a British Airways flight home.

However, the experience has not deterred Pontlliw player-manager Mr Williams, who previously hit the headlines in 2008 after coming on as a sub with his leg still in plaster before scoring the winner in a local derby.

The cleaning firm boss added: "I'll be watching the Belgium game in my local tonight. But if we win, I'm going to go out to Lyon to watch the semi-final.

"Thankfully, there's only one Lyon."

Press Association

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