The shocking allocation given to Newcastle of 1,470 for a Europa League game, that about ten thousand have arranged travel to, is as ill thought out as it is ridiculous, and has annoyed me massively.
I got married earlier this month and had a bit of a dilemma regarding a honeymoon. As we have a 6-month old daughter, we didn’t like the options of dragging her off to supposedly tranquil climes but equally it didn’t appeal to leave her at home for a fortnight at this tender stage in her development. So, the decision was reached to have a few days in Paris, then a week in New York at Christmas, spread around the time without baby and get in some top honeymooning over a period of time.
In an ingenious move though, I managed to put the caveat in that, if there was an appealing Europa game in between these trips, why not have a city break and take the match in as another leg of the honeymoon.
When the draw threw up the convenient trip to Belgium, we jumped at the chance and got booked up. It seems that many, many others had the same idea.
I think timing is a huge factor in the popularity of this match. For Maritimo, there was barely any time to book between the draw and the actual trip to Madeira, while many will have had summer holidays draining their finance in the weeks preceding it.
Bruges is perfect, ideally situated between summer and Christmas and a reasonable travelling distance. I wonder as well, how many of you have fancied a visit to this city since seeing the excellent Colin Farrell film ‘In Bruges’, which acts as a brilliant advert for the city.
One thing that clearly is not to love about Bruges though, is the football club. Quite how the Flemish can justify giving us 4,000 less tickets than Birmingham were given 12 months ago is beyond me.
It seems they are creating a threefold problem:
1) their city will be overrun with ticketless Geordies
2) their home areas will be overrun with enterprising Geordies, increasing the potential for bother that has been stated as a reason for this miserly stance and
3) they are running the risk of not selling out a stadium that we can apparently half fill for them before anyone from Flemland has even shown an interest.
From a personal point of view, I am on the horns of another dilemma. Regular Mag readers may have read my reports from the vast array of grounds I have been disappointed at down the years.
I could therefore be faced with the hideous prospect of going to Bruges with a ticket and having to miss the match, the alternative being abandoning her for an evening in a crowded foreign city centre (admittedly about 6 of our friends will be there somewhere) while I knock off to the match on what is basically part of our honeymoon. Advice welcome.
I signed the petition today and have panicked on several occasions in the past where allocations have been increased at a later point closer to the game. I’m actually pretty confident there’ll be more than the stated amount given in the end but it seems hope is dwindling for the near 6,000 we had hoped would be taking over the ground.
I hope that a concerted effort to put pressure on will work.
If not, at least I have this outlet to let the Club Bruges authorities know how much I hate them (along with the vocalisation of this when I’m drunk at the home leg).