Liverpool fans are looking forward with excitement to their most important fixture for 20 years. Liverpool FC were allocated 20,000 tickets for the game which were sold to fans who met the correct criteria in having attended previous matches in Europe this season. With an average home gate exceeeding 40,000 though this was clearly never going to be enough tickets/
Liverpool’s official travel scheme was organised with Londsdale travel, but many more Reds are travelling over through their own methods – and many without tickets. Some Reds are travelling to the holiday resorts of Turkey, then moving to Istanbul in time for the game. Flights to Turkey have been at a premium, but Reds fans have done what they can to raise the money to get out there.
Those fans arriving in the country without tickets may be disappointed though. British police have been in touch with the authorities in Turkey and have been told that fans will be checked to ensure they have tickets almosty as soon as they touch down in Istanbul. Those without tickets may be sent home.
Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent, Dave Lewis, said: “All of the tickets for the match have now been allocated and I’d advise anyone without a ticket not to travel. The Turkish authorities say they will be checking that supporters arriving have tickets. If they don’t they run the risk of being sent home.”
Liverpool fans are making the journey without tickets for two reasons though. In the first instance they want to get hold of a ticket if there’s any available in Turkey, but secondly they want to be part of overall party taking place in the city. Liverpool and AC Milan have only ever played each other once – in a friendly – but the two sets of fans have a great deal of respect for each other.
Despite this, police are worried that Liverpool fans without tickets could cause trouble. One of their spokesmen said that fans must be wary of forgeries: “All tickets through the official channels have now been sold and police would recommend that supporters do not buy tickets from unauthorised sources as they cannot guarantee entry into the match.”
More warnings from the police include that travellers should not turn up for their flight intoxicated. Also a reminder not to wear fezzes to avoid the risk of insulting Turkish people.
Two Leeds supporters were stabbed to death in Istanbul five years ago, and whenever Turkey and England have met in international matches there has been trouble. This is what seems to be worrying the authorities in England.
Turkish authorities don’t share these concerns – there’s not Turkish club involved in the game, and Liverpool are said to be well regarded in the city.
Some words from British authorities over in Turkey – a spokesman for the British consulate-general said: “The city is no stranger to big events and big football matches. The consulate-general has been in touch with Liverpool Football Club, Merseyside police, Uefa and the Turkish authorities to make sure we can welcome all these fans into the city."
A final word from those authorities: “We are advising people to check the Foreign Office website to see dos and dont’s about travelling to Turkey.”
If you are travelling and want to check the website out – here’s the link: Foreign Office advice on travel to Turkey.
We also received an email today from a disgruntled Reds fan that was conned out of £250 when trying to buy a ticket off the internet. Once he’d transferred the money, he said he was unable to get in contact with the person who’d received the money. The advice we give is that if you really feel you want to spend a high amount of money on a ticket is to at least ensure that the ticket exists. Why not arrange to meet the seller somewhere (somewhere public too) and then you can at least be shown the tickets before you hand the money over? Not everybody is as trustable as you are trusting.