Sixteen members of Rochdale Uniteds Senior Squad, who sparked a nationwide hunt and an investigation by the Romanian Borders Agency after they disappeared from Iasi Airport, turned up a little worse for wear after going missing for three days – explaining that they just got lost leaving the airport.
On Tuesday, a coach had travelled the 50 miles to Iasi to bring the team to the Ecaterina Teodoroiu stadium but, despite the driver spending hours searching for them, they could not be found.
The Golden League organisers and club officials from both clubs, spent hours on the phone trying to work out what had happened to the Senior team, first assuming they had missed their flight. They established that all their travel documents and visas were in order, and they had landed at Iasi and then apparently vanished.
They were reported missing, presumed absconded, an immigration inquiry was launched, and the news caused headlines round the world.
Three days later when the team had already missed its scheduled match, the GL organisers got a call to say the players had taken a wrong turn out of the airport and were at a house in Botosani. Their coach headed back to Botosani to collect them and took them to the stadium.
The team made their apologies, and enjoyed a shower and a meal before heading back to Iasi airport for their retrn flight to England.