Mother of England fan who claimed he partied with sheikh’s son insists he IS telling the truth

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Just two days into the trip and they’re are already up to high jinks!’ Mother of England fan who claimed he partied with sheikh’s son in his palace and petted his monkeys and LION cub insist he IS telling the truth

  • Alex Sullivan, 23, raised eyebrows about being befriended by a ‘sheikh’s son’
  • But his mother Sheena, 55, insisted today that he really did have the encounter
  • She clarified he had been with a ‘couple of sheikh’s cousins’ rather than a son

The mother of an England fan who claimed he was invited back to a palace by a Sheikh’s son during a wild, World Cup ‘Hangover-style’ night out where he petted monkeys, exotic birds and even a lion cub today insisted he is telling the truth.

Alex Sullivan, 23, raised eyebrows with his apparently tall tale about being befriended by a ‘sheikh’s son’ within hours of arriving in the desert state for the World Cup finals.

Commentators on social media accused the Three Lions fan of embellishing his story, despite him posting a video of himself playing with a lion cub at his host’s private zoo.

But his mother Sheena, 55, insisted today that he really did have the encounter with a pair of friendly locals who were members of Qatar’s extended ruling Royal family.

Speaking from her family home in Birkenhead, Merseyside, she said that Alex had sent her videos and pictures of his ‘amazing’ night out with his friend John Robinson.

She clarified that he had been with a ‘couple of sheikh’s cousins’ rather than a ‘sheikh’s son’ and claimed that he had only drunk tea and coffee at the palace instead of beer.

Sheena said: ‘Just two days into the trip, they are already up to high jinks.

Alex Sullivan (right), 23, raised eyebrows with his apparently tall tale about being befriended by a 'sheikh's son' within hours of arriving in the desert state for the World Cup finals

Alex Sullivan (right), 23, raised eyebrows with his apparently tall tale about being befriended by a ‘sheikh’s son’ within hours of arriving in the desert state for the World Cup finals

But his mother Sheena (above), 55, insisted today that he really did have the encounter with a pair of friendly locals who were members of Qatar's extended ruling Royal family

But his mother Sheena (above), 55, insisted today that he really did have the encounter with a pair of friendly locals who were members of Qatar’s extended ruling Royal family

‘I’ve not been able to speak to them directly because of very poor mobile reception, but they have been WhatsApping videos and pictures.

‘They say the atmosphere is amazing and the Qataris are fantastic.

‘They did tell me that they had met a couple of sheikh’s cousins and I have seen that a lot of people didn’t believe it, but it is true.’

Alex flew out to Qatar from Manchester Airport on Saturday along with his father Thomas ‘Tucker’, 63, and his friend John.

Sheena said the three Everton season ticket holders had been saving for years to fund the trip.

She told how her son had never previously handled any exotic animal, and was only used to petting her family’s pet Bichon Frise dog called Rosie.

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, she added: ‘I was shocked to see them posing with the lion cub.

‘They might have been looking for beer but they only drank tea and coffee at the menagerie.’

Alex flew out to Qatar from Manchester Airport on Saturday along with his father Thomas 'Tucker', 63, and his friend John

Alex flew out to Qatar from Manchester Airport on Saturday along with his father Thomas ‘Tucker’, 63, and his friend John

Sheena went on: ‘They are Everton fans and they have each got four shirts with the Everton and England badge on.

‘They have always wanted to go to the World Cup. They have tickets for all of England’s group games and they are hopefully going to see England go all the way and win the final.

They are due to fly home on December 20.’

Digital marketer Alex who is currently sporting a moustache for Movember had told how he and John ended up in the palace after going on a ‘hunt for beers’ on Saturday.

The pair said they met up with two Qatari men they named as Nawaf and Abdul-Aziz who invited them back for a ‘naughty one’ at their house.

Alex said: ‘We were on a hunt for some beers and they said ‘We’ll sort beers’, so we jumped into the back of his Toyota Land Cruiser, ended up in a big palace.

‘We were in the back and he showed us monkeys, his exotic birds, it was nuts.’

John added: ‘Last night we met one of the sheikh’s sons and he took us back to the palace and he showed us, he had lions and everything.

‘They’ve made us so welcome and look around you, it doesn’t get any better than this.’

Twitter users were quick to doubt the pair’s story, prompting Alex to release Snapchat videos of his encounter .

Digital marketer Alex who is currently sporting a moustache for Movember had told how he and John ended up in the palace after going on a 'hunt for beers' on Saturday

Digital marketer Alex who is currently sporting a moustache for Movember had told how he and John ended up in the palace after going on a ‘hunt for beers’ on Saturday

The videos show him recounting the night as it happened, including the moment he turned up at the ‘palace’ and when he met a lion cub.

In one piece of footage, he can be seen walking up a driveway to what appears to be a large Qatari home.

He says: ‘We’re on a beer mission, trying to get beers back at the gaff and I’ve only managed to get us back to a f***in… a naughty one with Nawaf and Abdul-Aziz.

‘We’ve just rocked up.’

In another piece of footage he can be seen sitting outside under floodlights next to what appear to be a set of football nets with a group of men dressed in traditional Qatari thobes – long white robes – and headdresses.

Alex then sits down on a chair and begins petting and kissing a playful lion cub on a leash. ‘F***in’ mad,’ he exclaims.

Yet more videos showed him walking around what appears to be a palatial home, hanging out with locals, and speeding down a highway in a car.

The wild night out – worthy of the Hangover movie franchise – emerged just hours before England’s 6-2 victory against Iran.

The tournament has been mired in controversies in a clash of cultures between Qatar – the first Muslim nation to host the World Cup- and football’s governing bodies.

Speaking from her family home in Birkenhead, Merseyside, she said that Alex had sent her videos and pictures of his 'amazing' night out with his friend John Robinson

Speaking from her family home in Birkenhead, Merseyside, she said that Alex had sent her videos and pictures of his ‘amazing’ night out with his friend John Robinson

There has been criticism of the nation’s human rights record, including allegations that thousands of migrant workers died building the stadiums.

Qatar’s record on LGBT and women’s rights – including comments by the country’s World Cup ambassador that homosexuality is a ‘disease of the mind’ – have further damaged its image.

Fresh controversy emerged last week when Qatar announced a ban on beer sales on stadium concourses, further limiting the places in normally-teetotal Qatar that fans can buy alcohol.

The move, reportedly made under pressure by the Qatari royal family, means supporters are limited to buying alcohol in hotels, selective restaurants and bars, and specially designated fan zones.

Drinks can only be purchased in the zones between certain times, and people will be limited to four drinks each to stop them getting drunk.

The Qatar World Cup has only just begun but it is already notorious for banning beer from stadiums – which doesn’t exactly seem like a recipe for a great night out.

But that didn’t stop two England fans from partying with a ‘sheikh’s son’ after their ‘hunt for beers’ ended in a palace surrounded by ‘lions, monkeys and exotic birds.’ 

Alex Sullivan and a friend who identified himself only as ‘John’ certainly made the best of a bad situation on Saturday night when two Qatari men they named as Nawaf and Abdul-Aziz invited them back for a ‘naughty one’ at their house.

Alex Sullivan posted a video of himself playing with a lion cub, claiming it was at the palace of a Qatari sheikh

Alex Sullivan posted a video of himself playing with a lion cub, claiming it was at the palace of a Qatari sheikh

The England fan told talkSPORT that it had been a 'nuts' experience while they were looking for beer

The England fan told talkSPORT that it had been a ‘nuts’ experience while they were looking for beer

Everton fan Alex told TalkSport: ‘We were on a hunt for some beers and they said ‘We’ll sort beers’, so we jumped into the back of his Toyota Land Cruiser, ended up in a big palace.

‘We were in the back and he showed us monkeys, his exotic birds, it was nuts.’ 

John added: ‘Last night we met one of the sheikh’s sons and he took us back to the palace and he showed us, he had lions and everything.

‘They’ve made us so welcome and look around you, it doesn’t get any better than this.’

Obviously, Twitter users were quick to doubt this tall tale – but Alex produced the receipts in the form of videos from his Snapchat account.

In them, he can be seen recounting the night as it happens – including the moment he turned up at the ‘palace’ and the moment he met a lion cub.

In one piece of footage, he can be seen walking up a driveway to what appears to be a large Qatari home.

He says: ‘We’re on a beer mission, trying to get beers back at the gaff and I’ve only managed to get us back to a f***in… a naughty one with Nawaf and Abdul-Aziz.

‘We’ve just rocked up.’

In another piece of footage he can be seen sitting outside under floodlights next to what appear to be a set of football nets with a group of men dressed in traditional Qatari thobes – long white robes – and headdresses.

Alex then sits down on a chair and begins petting and kissing a playful lion cub on a leash. ‘F***in’ mad,’ he exclaims. 

In a video posted on social media, the men can be seen looking at the lion cub in a cage

In a video posted on social media, the men can be seen looking at the lion cub in a cage

The lion was then taken out of its cage at which point the men played with it

The group say they were having a good time as they spent the evening in the company of the Qataris

The group say they were having a good time as they spent the evening in the company of the Qataris

Yet more videos showed him walking around what appears to be a palatial home, hanging out with locals, and speeding down a highway in a car.

The wild night out – worthy of the Hangover movie franchise – comes ahead of England’s first game against Iran this afternoon.

The tournament has been mired in controversies in a clash of cultures between Qatar – the first Muslim nation to host – and football’s governing bodies.

There has been plenty of criticism of the nation’s human rights record, including allegations that thousands of migrant workers died building the stadiums.

Qatar’s record on LGBT and women’s rights – including comments by the country’s World Cup ambassador that homosexuality is a ‘disease of the mind’ – have further damaged its image.

Fresh controversy last week arrived in the form of an announcement that Fifa would be banning beer sales on stadium concourses, further limiting the places in normally-teetotal Qatar that fans can buy alcohol.

The move, reportedly made under pressure by the Qatari royal family, means supporters are limited to buying booze in hotels, restaurants, and specially designated fan zones.

Drinks can only be purchased in the zones between certain times, and people will be limited to four drinks each to stop them getting drunk.

Anyone who does get drunk could be escorted away to sober up.

Plans by England players to take a knee and wear armbands promoting LGBT rights have also caused issues – with captain Harry Kane reportedly threatened with an immediate yellow card if he wears the armband on the pitch. 

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