A FOOTBALL manager has revealed how getting shirty with a corrupt cop in Ukraine during a trip to the Euro 2012 tournament saved him a small fortune.
Anti-bigotry campaigner John Plott, along with Renfrewshire United colleagues Ian Kelly and David McKessy, was in Eastern Europe for the spectacular sporting event.
They had a ball as they joined tens of thousands of other football fans inside the Olympic Stadium in Kiev for the final between Spain and Italy.
But John almost ended up being red-carded when he was hauled over by a policeman who accused him of speeding as the football fans were making the long journey home to Paisley.
And it took a Renfrewshire United shirt to help John talk his way out of trouble.
He told the Paisley Daily Express: “It was one of those moments when you think ‘how am I going to pay this fine when I have no money left?’
“I showed the policeman some photographs of superstars like Pele and Maradona wearing the famous green and blue shirt of Renfrewshire United and he seemed happy enough to accept one of our shirts and send us on our way.
“We handed over the captain’s jersey – so he got the best one.
“It just goes to show that the Renfrewshire United strip is good currency abroad!”
Renfrewshire United aim to tackle sectarianism and bigotry and their club colours have been seen at a number of major sporting events.
John and his colleagues travelled 4,000 miles from Paisley to Kiev in a car they had bought for £500 via a classified advert on the Gumtree website.
“We had reservations about whether or not the Kia jeep would actually make it to Ukraine and back but we needn’t have worried because it did its job perfectly,” said John. “We were away for around 11 days and, because our budget was so tight, we slept in an array of campsites and hostels but we had a great time.
“Before we left, we had secured tickets for the final, which was brilliant. We were in Warsaw on semi-final day and probably could’ve got tickets for that too but it would have completely smashed our budget.
“Anyway, the final is the showpiece event. It was a massive occasion and we were well received by everyone we met.
“Our tickets were for the Spanish end and the atmosphere was second to none. The trip will live long in the memory.”
Renfrewshire United’s trip to the Euros could also lead to the club being immortalised in print.
While in Ukraine, John bumped into author and columnist CJ Stone, who has shown a real interest in penning a history of the club.
John said: “He was really keen and we’re hopeful that something will come of it.”
The Renfrewshire United lads also took time to visit the Polish city of Krakow.
John added: “I met Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1993 when I went to see Scotland play Italy, so I was keen to visit Krakow to see the house where he was brought up.
“It’s a beautiful city and it was well worth taking the time out to see it.
“The entire trip was brilliant and the Euros were an incredible spectacle. It was a long trip but I would do it all again tomorrow.”