Forty eight Wolverhampton Wanderers fans were in Armenia last Thursday to watch their side romp to a 4-0 victory in their Europa League clash against Pyunik Yerevan.
That total would have stood at 47, if it wasn’t for a belated appearance from die-hard Wanderers fan Steve Bishop.
Bishop’s loyalty to Wolves is unquestionable – the man hasn’t missed a single game of theirs since 1976!
Sadly his trip to the Republican Stadium was a short-lived one as he arrived with 18 minutes remaining – with his side already three goals to the good.
Matt Doherty opened the scoring for the visitors with their first shot on target, before Raul Jimenez added a brace either side of the break.
Bishop did, however, get to see Ruben Neves’s stoppage time penalty which completed the rout.
More importantly, his attendance at the game kept his long-standing record going at the 14,000-capacity ground.
The ‘disgusting’ tricks John Terry used to try and get referees on his side
Liverpool tie Man United record, Sanchez refuses to leave, Spurs plan Eriksen talks
Borussia Dortmund rejected offer from ‘super club’ for Sancho, club chief reveals
Former Liverpool chief explains signing Jordan Henderson got him sacked
The most successful English football clubs in history after Liverpool’s triumph
‘They’ll win the Premier League before Liverpool’ – Neville makes sensational claim
Injuries cost Premier League clubs £221m in 18/19 – how much did your team pay?
The stats which suggest Arsenal will be top of the Premier League this weekend
So was the 6,370 mile round-trip worth it in the end for Bishop?
Reliving the day to the Express and Star, he said: “At least I got to see a goal!”
“It was a frantic day, to say the least. I was scheduled for a long stop in Moscow on the way to Armenia, but by the time we took off it had been five hours.
“There was a technical fault with the plane so we were sent back into the airport.
“Then as we were finally about to land in Yerevan, we were 300ft from the floor and the plane starts going side to side – so up we go again to 20,000ft.”
He continued: “The pilot landed it in the end and got a round of applause. It was a hairy landing.
“I know the match has already kicked off at this point so I’m in a bit of a panic to say the least.
“I ran as fast as I could through the airport and jumped in a taxi – the driver was a bit of a star and got me to the stadium as fast as he could. I think he sensed my desperation!
“We were supposed to pick our match tickets up at the ground so I had to beg my way through the first police cordon and then I saw loads of fans walking away from the stadium.
“I thought I’d blown it and the match had finished, but it was just the Pyunik fans leaving early as their team were 3-0 down!
“I finally got in with 72 minutes on the clock, I was sat diagonally opposite the Wolves fans so I waited for a break in play and made my way around the stadium.
“I knew a few friends in there and they were aware of my predicament. The match from that point is a bit of a blur to be honest.”
Premier League ‘big six’ are destroying England’s top flight with their wealth
It wasn’t much of a break away for Bishop, who runs the Cannock Wolves supporters’ club, as he then had to catch a return flight home to 8am the next morning.
“It wasn’t an ideal trip but at least I’ve kept my record going,” he added.
“It’s 40-odd years since I missed a game, away at Hull City in 1976. Eighteen minutes definitely counts!
“The last Molineux match I missed was in 1970. My first game had been a couple of years earlier against QPR, aged nine.
“I was too young to go to the early 1970s UEFA Cup ties but I was there in Eindhoven in 1980 and I’ll be going to Turin if we play them in the next round, for sure.”
If you could bottle that loyalty up, you most certainly would do! Great work, Steve!