Now Bruges Say Welcome To All Newcastle Fans!
Last week a Bruges Police Spokesman made a statement warning Newcastle fans they’d be arrested if near the Club Brugge ground without a ticket, or if they weren’t carrying proof of identity. Their message to anybody without a ticket was a simple stay away you’re not welcome, a bit naive considering countless fans had already paid for travel and accommodation and were hardly going to throw that money away instead of going on a jolly.
However, a subsequent statement released today has a change of tune with;
“Fans who do not have a ticket are not expected to go or be anywhere near the football stadium, When spotted in the vicinity of the stadium, they will be sent away.
The city authorities and the police of Bruges are happy to welcome both the team (Newcastle United) and its fans in Bruges.
The city authorities are sure NUFC fans will enjoy the atmosphere and hospitality of the town”.
The promise to arrest anybody without identification has been watered down to a polite;
“In streets and public places (for ticket holders, including the football stadium) everyone is required to carry a proof of identity at all times. The document must be produced upon request of a police officer”.
With the regard to the magical appearance of another 900 tickets for our fans after Club Brugge insisted any extra were impossible because of the design of the design of their stadium and the tickets already sold;
“On demand of the Burgomaster (Mayor) and the head of the police of Bruges, 900 tickets have been made available – totalling 2,600 tickets for Newcastle fans, The sale of tickets on the black market is an offence against Belgian football law”.
Either somebody isn’t telling the whole truth or they have lost their calculator because it was stated the initial allocation was 1,470 so the new total should appear to be 2,370 and not 2,600.
While the extra tickets and belated welcome message are….welcome, the whole affair leaves a bad taste in the mouth and could so easily have been avoided.
An early half decent allocation of three or four thousand might not have been enough to satisfy demand but would have have gone a long way to deal with the problem, while at the same time putting people off booking with little or no chance of a ticket. While lies and threats produced by a number of people involved in this fiasco leave the authorities looking a joke.
We’ll leave the final word to the Bruges police spokesman;
“We sincerely hope all NUFC fans will enjoy their stay in Bruges and the match”.
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