Leeds United fans travel more than 1,000 miles to see hero Pablo Hernandez on epic stag do adventure
A group of Leeds United fans have completed an epic trip of over 1,000 miles to see their hero - former player Pablo Hernandez.
Gavin Marshall, 37, and his group of close friends believe that Hernandez played a major part in the club's promotion to the Premier League after 16 years.
However, they felt he "never got the send off he deserved" due to lockdown restrictions.
Eager to put that right, the group decided to book a ticket to see Hernandez play for his new team CD Castellón while they were on a stag do in nearby Valencia - which had been delayed for two years due to the pandemic.
Unfortunately for the group, they realised Hernandez had picked up an injury and would not be able to play.
Hernandez did not disappoint though and instead met up with the group for photographs and to sign shirts after the match.
Speaking to the YEP, Gavin, an operations manager from Leeds, said Hernandez was a "true gent and legend".
He added: "Seeing over the years what he had done for Leeds United was indescribable.
"Unfortunately in his last season he didn’t play many games, so we all felt he never got the send off from Leeds he rightly deserved.
"The stadium was miraculously a 30 minute train journey from our hotel and it turned out they were playing during the four days we were there!
"We all went on to buy tickets for the game and before our flight ensured we all had our Leeds United shirts, scarves and banners loaded in our cases to go and give Pablo some LUFC support."
Once matchday arrived, the group headed to the stadium and met many fans chanting for Leeds United due to Hernandez's connection to the club.
Gavin said: "They invited us into their bar and gave us drinks and great hospitality before asking us if we would like to march to the stadium with them which we obviously were massively onboard with.
"We marched all the way to the stadium singing CD Castellón songs and chanting “Pablo Hernendez” on repeat.
"We got into the stadium and sat in our seats only to see another Leeds fan who had also made the trip however he was the bearer of bad news as it turned out Pablo Hernandez wasn’t playing due to an injury!
"Whilst we were in the stadium loads of CD Castellón fans were showing their appreciation to us for being there and cheering their team on.
"We were watching the game and heard someone shouting from the balcony stand in the stadium above us, it was the Leeds fan we met earlier with his arm around Pablo Hernandez!
"Once we knew Pablo was in the stadium we set out for it to be our mission to meet him after the game and was doing Pablo Hernandez chants throughout the game."
One of the group named Ollie kept a watch over the stands on the off chance they may be able to spot Hernandez.
Luckily for the group, Hernandez's dad spotted them chanting and invited them down to the clubhouse after the match.
Gavin continued: "Once the game finished a Spanish guy urged us to head with him towards the clubhouse where we went and waited.
"After about 15 minutes of waiting, Pablo came down and met us all shaking all our hands and apologizing that he was unable to play today.
"He went on to tell us that all the Spanish fans keep asking him who are these crazy English people who keep coming over to the club and the games which he laughed and said “Leeds United”.
"Pablo spent a good 10 minutes chatting with us and was very happy for us all to get photos and take video in the club house.
"We also met his mum and dad who went on to say how proud of their son they are which was awesome, they were all really nice and very happy to see us there giving him support beyond Leeds United."
Once outside, the group were met by the same CD Castellón fans they had met earlier and they invited them to come back to their bar for drinks and Paella.
"We went back to the bar, had some drinks and food whilst chanting a few more Leeds songs.
"Once it was time to leave my mate Tom gave his Leeds flag to the owner of the bar and he pointed at a big space on the wall where he said he will put it there to remind him of our support and what an incredible fanbase Leeds United have."
A video montage of the group's trip has now gone viral on Twitter.
Gavin added: "I know so many Leeds fans would love it and before I knew it the video had 30k+ views and hundreds of Leeds fans were messaging me awesome messages and saying they too were going to make the trip, it was mental, my phone is still going crazy four days after returning back!
"It was definitely a day we will never forget and Pablo Hernandez was a true gent and legend!"
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.