Often Partisan

Ticket to Ride? The problems with Europa ticketing…

When the official BCFC twitter feed announced this afternoon that there were 200 tickets on general sale for the away leg of the UEFA Europa League playoff round tie against CD Nacional, I was surprised. When we pulled Nacional out of the hat, it was almost immediately confirmed Blues would be lucky to get more than 250 tickets for the match as Nacional’s ground holds barely 5,500 fans. Having cogitated about it tonight, I’m not so surprised.

I actually looked at CD Nacional as potential opponents a few months back in my “Off to Partizan” series, and even then, back in April flight prices looked very expensive. I said then that if we pulled Nacional it would probably be worth looking into going for a week as a holiday, and I don’t think I was far off. Right now, the cheapest legit deal I know for a trip to Funchal for two nights is £849 – which is pretty damn expensive, although cheaper than the club’s trip which was priced at £1200 + VAT.

I think one of the major problems has arisen because of a major catch-22 position. Due to UEFA regs, the club cannot sell a ticket to a fan without them presenting their passport and flight details; conversely, you can understand a fan being reluctant to shell out up to four figures to get to Madeira only to find out that they can’t get a ticket – and of course, it was pretty much intimated at first that it would be very difficult to get one.

The time factor hasn’t helped either. With less than two weeks between the balls being plucked out of the hat to game time it’s been a real scramble for fans to sort out flights etc; tickets have only been on sale since the 8th or so. As much as fans aren’t happy with some of the arrangements – the lack of anything but a VIP trip to Madeira being a more than valid point in my opinion – it’s impossible to deny that the club have been hamstrung.

In some ways, I think it’s better we pulled out a team with a tiny capacity stadium like Nacional. This is new territory for Blues, and as harsh as this sounds it’s probably easier for the club to deal with maybe a hundred or so disgruntled fans, than if we’d have pulled out FK Rabotnički of Macedonia with a guaranteed allocation of nearly 2000 tickets and the potential for many more to go on sale. As much as I can accept that this may well be our sole foray into European territory for a while, the hope is that we win this tie and the club can learn from the mistakes of this round when selling group stage tickets.

I also think the club have to be praised for the price of the home leg tickets – a fiver for a game of European Football for me is an absolute steal and I’m very happy with that pricing – I’d probably would have been happy to have paid six times as much in honesty. Of course, by the time the home leg rolls around we could be very much out of it, but that doesn’t mean anything to me – it’s just important that I was there the day the Europa League came to St Andrews.

I hope everyone who can go, does go and gets a ticket – I really do. This is an exciting time to be a Blues fan, and I’m utterly jealous of all of you heading out to Madeira. Let’s hope that we can get at least a semi-decent result out there and continue our European adventure into the giddy heights of the group stages.

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9 Responses to “Ticket to Ride? The problems with Europa ticketing…”

  • Lee Cocka says:

    Travelling out to madeira today from stansted on a weeks holiday. I got my ticket yesterday morning but was unable to get the missus a ticket from ground because she hasnt got a season ticket but I’ve managed to get one for her from someone who had there flight declined yesterday. All a bit farcical . I don’t take any pleasure in saying that blues will never get it right. Last year I travelled to hong kong & Beijing and after problems out there we were offered a box for a game and promise to do better next time.
    Maybe they’ve got bigger problems at the minute, I really hope Chris and his team are encouraged Not to throw this game, we will have plenty more championship campaigns to look forward to but may never get another opportunity to play in Europe KRO

  • Mark says:

    I totally agree with everything said, all you Blue fans need to fill the second leg regardless of the result in the 1st leg. Maybe a once in a life time experience to say you were there. Regarding ticket prices for the home leg this give us the chance to fill the stadium. come on you blue boys………

  • Mortonsblue says:

    Spot on Almajir! I am not surprised they have 200 tickets left either. I did think the club would organise some travel (apart from the VIP trip) and registered with TMG Sport, the official travel partner.

    Having heard nothing I contacted TMG and they informed me that the club had decided not to offer any travel options other than the VIP trip, so that was that, very disappointing considering the location, they really could have done a little more for us, as few people can afford £1340 for the VIP trip.

    I did manage to find flights from Gatwick at just over £400 but that would have been plus another £100 for fuel and parking, never mind the additional time off work etc. so that sort of drew the line under it for me, lets hope we get through and can go to the group stages!

    Incidentally i visited Maderia in January (booked before we made the CC semi-final) so missed the home leg which I watched in an Irish bar along with some West ham fans. I also missed the Coventry game, which my wife, I and two drunken Maderians ( who fell asleep 40 mins in) managed to watch in Funchal as it was shown live by Portuguese TV. We paid £329 half board for a week!

  • John Paul says:

    What is a joke about this tie is that I took the risk and booked last week knowing they would not sell out even after been told that it would not even get to season ticket holders which I am one. How many people can realistically afford £1440 plus beer money for one night and be herded around like cattle on arrival?

    It is also clear the the club are charging £1440 per person to pay for the team to fly out which is a disgrace…………I know this because I have managed to book for 4 nights in a five star hotel bed and breakfast, business class flights (direct) with TAP, airport transfers and a ticket to the match for a total of £1,100!!!

  • tilts says:

    True I cant really moan at our club, Uefa rules state that you have 14 days notice from draw to first game but there is only 13 with this one, so straight away there is a day lost. You then have Nacional with a very good team but that is where it ends, the stadium would fail entry to League Two it only has two stands. Attendances are poor but it’s not hard to work out why. The population is barely over 140,000 of which around only 30,000 are going to be in the demographic of football fan. They then share this fan base with Maritimo who are the main team of the island.

    I know our club have pegged it too high but in the supply and demand era that is why they treat it like this. There are a lot of staunch loyal fans that have not missed games for 20 years who cant go and were told the club would run a dirt cheap straight in and straight out option. If they would have chartered a flight arriving lunch time and coming back after midnight there is no reason why they couldn’t have been achieved at around £400 per head.

    There has been talk that they offered Blues 1700 tickets and the club turned this down. With that amount it would have been easy to accomodate absolutely everyone who wanted or could afford to go.

    What annoys me is the profit being made on the biggest away game in our recent history and they cant even get round the table and thrash out a deal to televise the game. You cant tell me that £25k wouldn’t be enough to buy the rights for such a low ranking game in the grand scheme of things.

    So me being one of those who are simply unable to afford it will have to be subjected to listening to a game rather than watching it in the modern TV saturated era.

    It does leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

  • tilts says:

    Although I did find this

    http://www.freefootball.eu/

    They seem to think they are showing it

  • Bluehobba says:

    I didnt think I would get tickets and looked @ flights anyway. The best on Skyscanner was £329 yesterday but like a lot of Blues fans 2 or 3 days notice I can’t get away with. A shame but lets hope we can get through this one and then hopefully have a proper tour of Europe. Has anyone looked on fsi yet to see if its being shown as there will certainly be cameras there.


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