Derby

'Panic' over Real Madrid match against Belper Town

Belper Town home game Image copyright Belper Town Football Club
Image caption Belper Town FC are based in the Derbyshire town of the same name

A non-league football club has been left red faced after an April Fools' Day joke about playing Real Madrid went wrong.

Belper Town FC thought everyone would realise they were joking when they advertised their next match as being against the Spanish giants.

But they received more than a dozen calls from people wanting tickets.

Even the club's caterer was taken in and started panicking about what to cook the fictitious opponents.

Image copyright Belper Town Football Club
Image caption The club did not think anyone would be taken in by the joke, which was advertised as being on 1 April

"I did have a bit of a panic myself because I thought 'blimey what can I feed these lads?" said Diane Collins.

"They are all into carbs, protein and veg, not like pie and chips that our footballers get."

Image copyright Getty Images / Belper Town Football Club
Image caption Real Madrid play at the world famous Santiago Bernabéu Stadium while Belper Town play at the lesser known Marston's Stadium

After being told it was a joke, she said: "I was disappointed I wasn't going to see Ronaldo but never mind."

Belper Town FC play in the North Premier League Division One South - the eighth tier of the English football pyramid.

Image copyright Getty Images / Belper Town Football Club
Image caption Belper Town director Mike Matthews said the club's Ronaldo equivalent is Phil Watt (right), who has "great physique and looks but can't match Ronaldo's earrings"

One of the club's directors, Mike Matthews, said: "Our view as directors is that Real Madrid would merely be the warm-up game for the true match tomorrow against Kidsgrove Athletic.

"We are expecting a big crowd."

The match was advertised last Tuesday and by the morning of 1 April the club had received 15 phone calls asking for tickets.

Three people also asked Mr Matthews for tickets directly - and two of those were serious.

"They were completely unaware of the date and the sheer unlikelihood of the world's most prestigious club visiting Christchurch Meadow," he said.

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