Sheffield student left stranded in Madrid after being robbed while supporting Manchester United tells his story

Written by Andrew McLean

A Sheffield student says ‘he has never felt loneliness like it’ while he was left stranded in Madrid after thugs stole his passport, phone and debit card. 

Kieran Spencer, from the University of Sheffield, travelled out to Madrid last month to watch Manchester United’s Champions League fixture against Atletico Madrid.

He was robbed while walking back to his accommodation from a night out on the Saturday he was supposed to fly home. He was left sleeping in Madrid airport while he organised a temporary passport to get home. 

Kieran, who lives in Manchester, said: “I was walking home alone at about 5:30 when I was pushed into a side street. Next thing I know I was rugby tackled and three people are kicking me in the stomach. They started checking my pockets and that’s where they took my phone, wallet and passport. 

Mr Spencer’s friends had to travel home as planned on Saturday leaving him with €250 to get through until the British embassy opened on Monday. A temporary passport costs €125 so half of his money was already accounted for.

Kieran and his friends in the Wanda Metropolitano

“I’ve never felt loneliness like it. 

“I can’t describe the emotion of leaving the hotel, knowing I will have to stay in a freezing cold airport without any way of contacting anyone I know.

“Psychologically it was horrible, there was a complete lack of hope.”

To make matters worse, he missed the last tram back to the airport on the Saturday night after filing a Police report into the incident. This forced him to spend five hours sheltering in a bus stop overnight from the rain. 

His bag was then stolen while he caught up on sleep in an airport Burger King. Leaving him with no spare clothes, toothbrush or deodorant. 

“I was like how on earth has it been stolen in an airport in a shop? It’s like the last place on earth I expected my bag to be stolen. 

“It felt like everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong.” 

He was left relying on the kindness of strangers. A taxi driver offered him the use of his phone to help him contact home while a fully-booked hotel gave him free food and let him use their computer for the whole day. 

His friends set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds for him to get home. It raised over £650, mainly from Manchester United fans looking out for their own. He hopes to pay the donors their money back or donate the money to a homelessness charity.

“I’m just overwhelmed by the support and from the messages I received from people. I didn’t expect it,” he said. 

He returned home on Wednesday 2 March, a week after the match. His friend, Jake, travelled out to Madrid on the Monday, paying for a hotel for him to stay in while he waited. 

“I’d never been so happy to see Piccadilly station in my life,” he said. “I would have walked home on that day, I was just so happy to be back.” 

Written by Andrew McLean

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