Reg: Tales from Madrid

Liverpool Football Club - Games

Postby Reg » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:22 am

Where to start telling this story...... I booked my flight to Madrid after a rush of blood straight after the Barca game. Didn't tell the wife for a week but by then 3 other mates had booked their flights as well who watch the games together in the pub in Singapore and a 30 year long friend now living in Geneva. None of us had tickets.

Hook or by crook, all via friends and friends of friends, we got tickets, 3 paid face value, the other a couple of grand from an agency. That's significant because of the impending stories of cancellations, rip offs and extortion to come. It started on the Doha Singapore flight: many Aussie reds enroute from Melbourne (15 hours just to get to Doha..) a group of 5 lads paid 2,000 euros each for the tickets but got an email whilst in Doha in transit to say their tickets were cancelled... and this story was repeated many times. They paid via paypal so were hopeful to get their money back.

Arrived Thursday night, slept in the airport hotel for 130 euros, checked out next day as the same room for friday/saturday nights was 600 euros. We rented a 2 bed B&B between the 4, one night in bed, one on the floor. Hit the bar at midday, table outside and watched the world go by, made many new friends, met up with pals I didn't know were going. Met Olaf the Viking and his mate, 6'4" 20 stone, blond/ginger beard and a deep laugh from his belly => Olaf got a call mid afternoon to say he'd lost his 2 tickets at 3,000 quid the two, but if he paid an additional 9,000 quid he could still have them. 12k... 6 thou each. Olaf the Viking was a big lad and could've cleared the city single handed at that moment. His mate negotiated 'something' and Olaf was placated.  Shortly after we got an email from a lawyer friend who was taking action on behalf of 6 other lads who'd lost their tickets in a similar scam - they'd paid 3,000 quid each then tickets and hotels on top and lost the tickets... We heard on match day a lad had paid 6 thou then turned away at the turnstile for a fake ticket. Honestly it was disgusting how UEFA had set the touts against the fans... Anyway, sherberts were consumed, the city was all red, saw very few Spurs fans, just one or two generally, small, ugly people with pointy faces like the Welsh wearing Sergio Tacchini gear.

Friday night was long and loud, the noise finally stopped at about 6am, I know because our apartment was above a bar... thank god for ear plugs.

Match day we had breakfast in a bar with smoked Jambon off the bone. A cockney tout approached us asking if we wanted to sell our tickets. Offered me 14,000 pounds for my 2 tickets. We told him to spin. Whatsapp'd my new mate Glen off the plane (Spurs fan coming in from Oz but very nice lad) who replied he'd just been offered 8 grand for his. The tout told us corporate were buying, he had an order to fill for BMW. Kunts. And we heard this story repeated all day. A lady tout offered us 2 tickets at 8,500 quid and 2 at 10 thou. No fan coming to the game could hope to find a ticket, there were no sellers, only buyers and corporate set the price.  Many lads sleeping in the streets because accommodation was so short and expensive. 

Match day was bloody hot during the day - go to the fan zone at your peril, there was no shade and no breeze. One of my pals went and lasted a princely 6 minutes before realising he'd collapse before long. It was there, organised but way too hot. One thing disappointed though, there were no tee shirts, shirts, memoriabilia on sale. No fakes, no tees simply stating Madrid 19 etc... you could get ripped off for 10,000 quid on a ticket but you couldn't find a tee shirt for the kids back home. Annoyed me that, they can control the merchandise but not the tickets.

We went up to the ground early and stopped at a bar full of reds geared up for the game and a good few Spurs lads. Songs and laffs, lots of beer - zero, zero trouble all weekend, both sets of fans were impeccable. I still had my broken ankle in a ski boot so had to go up 90 odd minutes before KO (I saw 3 other lads with similar ski boots... and we had a laugh together). So.... no fecker told me my seat was in the Spurs end whilst wearing my reds shirt. So I was a lone red entering through Gate 27.... right behind the Spurs goal. Luckily I then turned right and found my seat in the corner flag goal line sufficiently away from the bulk of the Spurs fans. That was close, if I'd been in the main fan area behind the goal I couldn't have stayed there, it would have been too dangerous.

Game kicked off, quick penno, 1-0 and LFC started time wasting... awful first half and all the fans around us were annoyed at the lack of energy from both sides. The Spurs lads told us to expect better in the second half, it came, it passed and we won. Our back 4 were great, Alisson made critical saves that won us the game. Job done.

The Spurs fans left the stadium quickly so after 30 minutes of celebrating it was safe for me to hobble out,  back for a few scoops in the same bar after the game. An 'awl fella dressed like a tramp in a reds shirt and old rasta hat clutching a UEFA VIP ticket talked to me whether I liked it or not. "I didnt have a ticket, I found this on the floor, I went to the stadium and they let me in the VIP lounge with Kenny and Stevie and (best of all) THEY FED ME!"  honestly, the best part of the old boys story was "they fed me!!" you had to laugh and congratulate him - I wouldn't be surprised if he'd stuffed his pockets on the way out.

Getting back into town was awkward and could have been trouble. There were no taxis so it was metro/tube. Fortunately the Spurs fans had moved on but there should have been better arrangements as there were no coppers or anyone telling you how to get back into the centre. No coppers on the streets nor in the metro station. 1a.m.-ish we were back in our street having beers but what a mess, all the surrounding streets were covered in cans, food and god knows what else, a real mess. Women of the night were in abundance. Bounced up and down until 2 then back for a sleep, up at 5am for the airport.

Madrid airport was the world's biggest airBnB that night, tens and tens of fellas and girls just asleep on the floor. What can you do at 500/600 euros a night? The airport was quiet though and again it seemed everything had passed off peacefully.
 
My favourite moment occured at 6am Sunday morning at the airport, there was a @58 year old great big fella, as black as the ace of spades standing in the queue for coffee in MacDonalds, with a small LFC lapel badge on his jacket. We got talking and he told us in voice 2 octaves deeper than a baritone that he'd he'd supported the reds since 1972 and "I had to come to the game....." from Lagos, Nigeria.  By himself. It was one of those moments when I realised the global reach of LFC and how it's not a small club in Anfield, it's not a club owned by the city of Liverpool> it's truly global. He was having a coffee with his memories then flying back to Lagos, I was returning to Singapore, others to Oz, NZ, China... all over the world. How can anyone tell this Nigerian he not a 'real fan'? The memory of our Nigerian mate standing in the queue at MacDonalds will stay with me for some time, at some stage after the Barcelona game he thought - just like us - 'That's it, I'm going to Madrid.' Folks made the same individual decision across the globe purely based on passion and we met at a football field in Spain. Immense.

Final comments. Our game in Madrid was bigger than the World Cup final. We had more people from more countries with 100 times more passion, more atmosphere, more everything. UEFA came in for massive, stinging criticism how they allowed the tickets to get in the hands of the agencies and touts who in turn screwed the real fans out of the game with hundreds of fans having their tickets cancelled on them despite having paid thousands extra to get them and of course, thousands more on flights and accommodation. The system is broken and it needs fixing. What happened in Madrid must never happen again.

Super cup: August 15th in Istanbul.... yes, I'm up for that..  :buttrock
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Postby laza » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:13 pm

Fantastic read Reg,
Though the sad thing about ticket fiasco doesn't surprise me all , what an absolute disgrace
Forever Red in this life and the next

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Postby Red Rum » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:19 pm

Ooooohh Lord, Cum By Ya!

Great Yarn Reg!
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Postby kazza » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:38 am

Great experience Reg, thanks for sharing
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Postby redshade » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:12 am

Good read mate!
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Postby Reg » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:37 pm

Other things are coming back to me so will start other threads.
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Postby fivecups » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:01 pm

Awesome Reg, amazing where people travelled from. Sad stories though, huge sums of money lost by true supporters.
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