Friday, May 25, 2007

The ticket problems in Athens should concern all clubs, Poom/Hleb/Torres

I can't help but give a wider focus to today's entry in light of the events in Athens, because what took place there surely effects, or should effect, all football fans, and in particular those who attend games across Europe. Namely, the problem that is Uefa's inability to properly organise show-piece European football matches.

As far as I can tell, this was the situation. An 80,000 capacity stadium was reduced to 63,000, partly due to certain rows being affected by large advertising hoardings. Of the remaining tickets, only 34,000 were given to supporters of the two clubs. Of these, only 11,000 were put on something resembling general sale to Liverpool supporters.

At least 40,000 Liverpool supporters descended on Athens and were faced with a stadium with no turnstiles, with inadequate ticket checks, and with, yet again, a police force who seemed only too happy to fire tear gas and bash people over the head, with the slightest, or even without, any provocation.

Thousands of ticket-holding supporters were locked out of the ground and understandably angry; thankfully the Liverpool end was shut before it became dangerously overcrowded. In short, we should all be grateful that a disaster was averted.

Now Liverpool and its fans must share some culpability. Fans who rushed gates and got into the stadium were endangering themselves and their fellow fans and the club should have put more tickets on sale to its supporters.

But Uefa must take the lions share of the blame.

Firstly, and in a move reminiscent of the allocation in our final last year, taking over half the ground for corporate supporters or 'neutrals' is obscene. Ok, it's their competition; but clubs and their supporters should always come first. Not the prawn sandwich brigade. If you give out ludicrously small allocations to massive fan bases, don't protest innocence when all hell breaks loose.

Secondly, when will Uefa learn that regardless of their desire to give as many countries as possible the chance to host these occasions, put simply, many are not able to properly host games such as these. Their stewards aren't good enough; their police are overly heavy handed; their grounds can't deal with the requirements of thousands of ticketless fans descending upon them.

So, while Uefa are undoubtedly correct to criticise the behaviour of Liverpool fans, what did they expect to happen in the circumstances? 30,000 ticketless fans to play nice?

Increase ticket allocations to fans; train stewards and riot police to a general European standard of how to monitor and police these games; ensure stadiums are adequate to control the movement of fans in and out of them. That really shouldn't be too much to ask in the early 21st century. I say this because next year, when we hopefully reach the final, the game is at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and I have fears about how the Russian police will deal with a situation like the one that arose in Athens. Uefa have to note and deal with the crowd problems that have arisen in this year's competition, not just lash out and blame fans for the organisation's own shortcomings.

Anyway, rant over.

Bits and bobs continue to float about regarding us, some more concrete than others. It would seem that the Mart 'Poomenator' Poom will be leaving this summer, with Watford as a possible destination. Lest we forget, Mart has been a very loyal servant of the club, and technically has a 100% clean sheet record in the Premiership. 1 out of 1 to be precise. heh.

Elsewhere, the first ludicrous swap deal of the summer has emerged, with Tribal Football contending that Hleb and Ljunberg + cash = Fernando Torres. While I would dearly love for us to get hold of a player of Torres's quality, it's pretty unlikely that this is going to happen. Hleb, even if you're a Hleb-hater, is not going anywhere this summer. And even if Freddie should be, and Reyes was used a makeweight in such a deal, I'm not holding my breath.

Finally, as Ade has had his supension from the Togolese national team lifted, we seem to be resigned to losing him for all of next January. Why they have to hold the ACoN every 2 years is beyond me. Something Arsene should consider more when signing players?

56 comments:

Tim said...

Absolute bullshit.

If the stupid Mickey's hadn't descened on mass without tickets, none of this would have happened. Didn't happen to Milan fans did it?

Sure, its a disgrace how mnay tickets go to sponsors instead of fans, but they won't sponsor teams for such large pots of cash if they didn't get these perks, which in turn would lead to less expensive players being bought and paid. Like it or lump it, this is how it is these days. To then ignore ALL the advice about travelling without tickets, storm the gates and steal tickets off their fellow fans.. well, the Greek police gave them (collectively) what they deserved in my opinnion.

Goonerboy said...

So you think it's ok for Greek police to beat and tear gas defenceless, ticket holding fans, just because their stadium doesn't even have turnstiles to keep ticketless fans out? Interesting moral viewpoint, I must admit. And sponsors get far more money from football than they ever put in.

Anonymous said...

Tim - are you prepared to slag off all the Arsenal fans who travelled ticketless to Paris against all advise?

Not to the same extant (possibly due to better organisation) but there were plenty of Arsenal fans got in without tickets so I take it by your standards they should have got a beating from the rozzers.

Anonymous said...

couldnt agree more - wg=hat really upsets me each summer is all the crap about who is going who - i am glad the boss has said that he and cesc are staying next season, just hope it is beyond then too.

thomas - a.madrid are after him
barca - TH
Gilberto - Juve

why dont all these spanish teams just piss off and stop unsettling the team and us fans

Anonymous said...

Why they should hold the European cup every two years is beyond me. May be AW should consider this before signing the likes of TH14, RVP, WG10 in future.

Goonerboy said...

anon 1.43 the European cup is every four years, and held post-season. Rather different.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:43...what???

Tim said...

Yes, if gooners went to Paris without tickets and rushed the stadium, the would deserve a beating. Regardless of the lack of available tickets from UEFA (Which of course is not good enough but also unlikely to change at any point), if you don't have a ticket, what right have you to try and get in? If someone tells you a nightclub is too full, and you try to rush the doorman, when he beats you to a pulp, its your own fault.

Tim said...

Of course innocent people don't deserve a beating but there has to be some kind of collective responsibility. Thousands of Mickeys with no and fake tickets tried and succeeded in getting in. There own fans. Some Mickeys were robbing each of other of tickets.

And we complain about heavy handed policing abroad but considering Manure fans (twice), Spurs fans and now Pool fans have all had run in this season, you have accept there is still an element of idiots supporting our club teams abroad, more so than other nations.

Anonymous said...

The answer is to club together with all the big teams across Europe, then add Spurs, and get them all to pay for a Mega-Kick-Ass 150,000 seater stadium in Luxembourg (or somewhere like that) and then hold the CL there every year. The police and stewards could all be properly trained and the facilities could be designed specifically for the event. You could give 50,000 tickets to each club and still have 50,000 for the suits.

James said...

This is as good a place as any to post this, but Frank Ribery is almost definitely signing for Bayern.

Goonerboy said...

Really? Where have you heard that?

James said...

It's been reported in the Die Welt newspaper, which is pretty reliable.

Let me see if I can find the link.

James said...

http://www.welt.de/sport/article894965/Bayern_Muenchen_holt_Franck_Ribery.html

Here.

Says the fee should be 15mil Euros, but it's not a confirmation of that - according to this article, it's pretty much a done-deal.

James said...

So I'm not sure if anyone's particularly bothered about that - personally, I think he'd have been a bit of a waste of money for us, but it should mean we can stop focussing on this nonsense for too much longer.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree with you i'm afraid, thousands of england fans were happy to watch the world cup on big screens, thousands of gooners were content to spend aa day in paris and catch the game in a bar. liverpool fans think they have a devine right to watch their team.

No doubt some would have tried to get in free if the ground had space for 100k fans and they all went to liverpool. There is a culture of jibbing into games, till the honest ticket holding fans condem the jibbers for stopping them getting in I don't have one ounce of sympathy for them.

Did you see all the fans on sky sports news boasting about doing it? they've no shame.

Ffs some even forced their way onto random flights home after....what sort of idiots are they?

Jimmy said...

I heard on the radio how disgraceful some of the Liverpool fans were. One supporter said that on a few occasions when children were asked to hold up their tickets some other Liverpool fans just ran up and nicked them off the kids. Also there were Liverpool fans mugging others. It's an inditement of our society.

Vagos said...

Torres a good signing? Have you watched the Atletico-Barca game? The guy is a joke. Media hype has made him world class. He is just a fairly good player in an average team.

James said...

So you're judging him by one game?

Sorry vagos, that's nonsense. Torres has had a poor season, no doubt, but he's still scored 12 goals. In the past, he's been close to the top of La Liga's top scorers table several times, and he's only 23.

He's an unbelievably talented player with a bad attitude.

Anonymous said...

i just wonder if ribery will be good for us. i mean if wenger is interested he would of been in pretty quick like he usually is.. what we dont want is the crazy situation that we chased baptista for 2 years that we know of only to find out when he puts on an arsenal shirt he needs 30 chances to score 1 goal..

Anonymous said...

Ribery isn't even good for Marseille, most of the time.

He's had an appalling season, and his scoring record is on a par with Hleb's.

James said...

Nasri has been much better for Marseille this season, and in France we've been linked with Malouda who's also been much better.

Good riddance, I say.

gazzap said...

hey that idea of a new euro stadium is interesting, though I dont see UEFA spending their money on such a thing. I reckon if they found a field in rural Belgium where the land is very cheap, they could build a stadium for under £100m. chicken feed once its divided by 40odd clubs involved in the UEFA cup and CL. (about £2.5m each).

torres is no better than Darren Bent. glad ribery has gone elsewhere. what a waste of money!

James said...

Torres probably has more talent than bent, but he's also got a worse attitude.

Torres is a much more technically gifted player than Bent, but he's a diver and a tart. Bent's more efficient with his finishing though. I'd take either, tbh, but because of the rumours I've heard, I expect neither.

Anonymous said...

very good reading and intresting -

some of the liverpool fans were disgraceful and one male boasted about running at the gates with a forged ticket in hand and ending up in the front row behing the goal - when asked if he felt bad about it because what finally happened - 'NO' he arrogantly replied.

for those who had tickets and didnt get in, i feel for bt they have their own 'so called' fans to blame - and yes - the milan fans behaved, watched the game and enoyed a win on paper that was so similar to Barca last year -

so many times this year the enhlish fans in europe have let our country down, thankfully ours have not - so many times the managers, fans and media blame the stwewards, uefa, police and anyone they can think of, but surely to goodness the answer is simple -

Mindless yobs who enjoy a fight, either after the pub on a weekend, or by using the excuse that they are a football fan who travels to matches with one thing in mind -

after consuming a belly full of beer, and more... are those who say they are fans, REALLY there to watch a football match ....

I dont think so... if i had the cahnce to watch our fantastic team in the final of CL, i would want to savour every minute and wake up the next day remembering the day/night, NOT with a badger tap dancing in my head and no memory of the experience -

Sorry to go on, but it pisses me off

James said...

Hey, don't slate getting drunk at sports events!

Believe it or not, most of us drinkers don't feel the need to commit criminal offences when we've had a few beers!

Speaking of which, does anyone know why you can't take your beer to your seat at the Emirates?

Anonymous said...

James, you should be careful, being drunk at a sporting event, especially premiershig/euro footie is unlawful and you can get nicked!!!

james said...

Eh, they aren't going to be breathalising anyone are they...

Jimmy said...

Beer goes everywhere when people are jumping up for goals fouls etc. It's disgusting.

Goonerboy said...

Several of you, I think, seem to be missing my point: the stadium and stewarding wasn't good enough, regardless of the fans' actions. Uefa knew thousands of scousers were going to turn up without tickets, yet they did not take adequate measures to prevent trouble occurring. There weren't even turnstiles at a venue that's meant to be good enough to hold a European Cup Final. I'm worried that Uefa still don't know how to police these big events, and that English fans are again getting a, largely unwarranted, reputation for trouble abroad.

I do agree though - there are still far too many English fans who get pissed and cause trouble. It's because of them decent fans get coshed over the head by riot police.

Anonymous said...

you can't take alcohol within sight of the pitch, its the law. you also can't take it within sight of a horse race....but cricket is fine.

james said...

So is rugby.

How bizarre...

Anonymous said...

Goonerboy you're the one missing the point, the milan fans didn't need extra measures just the pool fans.

They should have personal responsibility, they can't say "Uefa should have done more to stop us because we always cause problems". They demand justice for the 96 one minute and then threaten the lives of others minutes later.

It was ony weeks ago at the semi final at stamford bridge where the very same fans tried to force their way into the ground using fake tickets, old tickets and brute force.


Regardless of the rights and wrongs of holding the game there it was only one set of fans causing problems, that says to me the venue was fine and the fans were to blame.

James said...

IMHO, both were to blame. There should be a reasonable amount of security at the game, and not preventing non-ticket holding fans from entering is ludicrous.

But the behaviour of some fans was also shocking.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry to say that I have to agree with UEFA and generally the neutral press around the world that has placed the blame solely with the drunk and disorderly, dishonest and irresponsible Liverpool fans. Imagine the Greek police had let in all the extra fans with legitimate tickets after the non ticket holding fans had stormed the stadium. There would have been a human disaster and then the Greek authorities would have really been in for it.
It is the collective responsibiltiy of the Liverpool fans and they only have themselves to blame. Again and again British fans let us down, no problems with the Milan fans I see. And there were no heavy handed incidents by the Greek police, simply anti crowd procedures, tear gas to disperse an unruly and drunken crowd and the light (no severe injuries/complaints) of battons to move back the most violent of the fans from the stadium. Why oh why I we always such a disgrace. (actually Arsenal fans last year were not, but we were in our home from home I suppose :) France)

Coco said...

Anon at 3.45

you are spot on, if the fans behaved uefa would not even have to worry, an awful lot of fans should take a good long hard look at themselves at be honest - they cause the problems and grow up.

James, iam not knocking drinking at sporting events, i do it myself, but probaly like you, i dont ever get to the point that i want to fight or try and do something that i know i shouldn't -

but hey, im a girl!! i wouldnt do such a thing

cricket - lots of beer in the crowd, talking of which, nice to be watchin Vaughn get his century, and with a glass of naughty stuff in my hand

rugby - same as

footie - and yobs who profess to be fans - just doesnt go together, its such a shame

I reckon the boss will go for Owen and i think he shoul grab YaYa, Kolos little bro - and Richards then watch us go next year - worth and few pounds on the title i reckon

James said...

Agree with you anon at 3.53 - apart from your awful transfer suggestions (but hey, you're a girl, what can you expect!) ;)

james said...

Oh, sorry, you're not anonymous at all coco!

Goonerboy said...

Agreed Coco - good to see Vaughany back to his best. KP is murdering the WI as well.

Micah Richards is the only one I'd want out of that three. I think Bent would be a better buy than Owen, and Yaya is a bit overrated.

James said...

Yaya's a 'bit' overrated?

He's not even rated by anyone else in the world apart from Arsenal fans!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3.45 here again,

Thankyou Coco, I think you made the ultimate point. There is a large amount of drinking amongst many spectators of other sports e.g. rugby, cricket and yet you seem to never see these problems. In addition fans often sit in mixed areas with opposing fans and there are never problems. The scenes of Liverpool fans fighting each other and some Milan fans all over the news is a disgrace and again puts the British people in a bad light internationally...

Goonerboy said...

And Kolo.

Coco said...

james you are naughty - what prey tell is wrong with my transfer suggestions, YaYa is a good midfielder and wont cost bucket loads, and kolo says he is better than kolo - ok, richards, that was tounge in cheek as everyone seems to think he is billiant, i saw him for England.... yawn!!

Owen if he stays fit could be our little fox and would play well of TH and good cover when Ade is off in Jan -

Bale - anoher one who gets good press - i am not so convinced

who is the forward who keeps scoring for ireland - now he could be a good signing..
oh well more silly stuff from 'the girl'

Goonerboy said...

Milanese fans caused less problems as there were considerably less of them. They have a far more pronounced hooligan section of their fanbase than Liverpool.

James said...

Owen would be good if fit, but I can't actually remember the last time that was...

Yaya's really, really, really overrated by Arsenal fans - and frankly, Kolo's his brother! We might as well ask his agent how good he is! Yaya's not very good, not better than the players we've got, and has a career playing for rubbish clubs. Don't go near the bloke, and we won't.

Just my oppinion though.

Also, apparently Ribery - Bayern is now confirmed on Reuters, but I've not seen that.

Anonymous said...

Goonerboy - exactly and yet they behave when they are abroad... less fans, yes because the ones without tickets didnt go to Athens, the higher than thou Liverpool fans ignored warnings not to travel without tickets and causes all the problems...dont get me wrong I wanted Liverpool to win, cant stand Milan, but as A Brit i feel responsible for our fans constant disregards for order and rules abroad.. we are the hooligans of Europe

Coco said...

hey - 100 up for KP, glad the cricket is on as it keeps the summer going, i love it....

reality is the boss will probably buy a couple of players we have yet to take note of, he is such a shrewd man who keeps things so close to his chest which is good because it the Russian clan here that Arsene is looking at soone then they will just buy to prevent us - look at Hleb, Reyes and Thomas - we didnt have a clue until it was done and the national boss spilled the beans on thomas when he popped away from national duty for a medical -

it is exciting, but i cant help getting concerned when the spanish teams keep saying which of our players they ar going to buy ..... go away spain, leave us alone

James said...

Hleb and Tom were both bandied about in the press for a while before we signed them - Rosicky for several transfer windows, Hleb for at least a month or two beforehand.

I've heard from a number of people (not including Myles!), that Arsenal do not have anything currently in terms of transfer plans, and will not be making any significant signings.

You don't have to believe that, if you don't want to, but it's what I've heard...

Coco said...

my word - i didnt hear about them james, probably too busy ironing, cooking cleaning.......... or just too busy watching cricket!!

i wouldnt be surprised though if he buys no-one, but brings on the youth with Merida, Dennilson, Connolly etc - hey ho, lets hope we are wrong, anyway why are you not busy at work!!

Anonymous said...

It's going to be hard for us to buy anyone, I think. We have a deepish squad actually, we were just terribly unlucky with injuries. Thierry and RVP being injured/unfit at once was unfortunate. With Walcott coming through, Adebayor, Bendtner (and Aliadiere?) what's that? like 5-6 strikers.

Our midfield is solid. Although, I hope we get at least one classic winger, unless Theo is going to be utilized in that position.

Defensively, for quality I have no complaints. There is still some maturing to do. But overall we have good players. We need to practice setpieces though, both attack and defence. Gallas will help.

I don't expect any of our experienced players to be allowed to leave. We've learnt that much, hopefully. But buying...there just aren't too many options. Michael Owen is not an option for anybody, not even England. I am taking money that he will be injured again before the year is up.

Anonymous said...

The ACoN is the only major competition on the continent. The Club competition, ala CL, isn't well supported. The ACoN is a major revenue source for football on the African continent. Supporters watch it (probably because the real stars of the game feature in it), and sponsors support it. The timing I believe has something to do with leagues on the continent, I may be wrong here. But please, can we be a bit more tolerant of things we don't understand. I find it arrogant to expect African football to bow to European needs. And you know African football is not about to.

Arsene Wenger has spoken on this issue before. I for one am happy with his attitude towards it. Our unbeaten season happened in spite of our players going to the ACoN.

Goonerboy said...

Well argued anon 5.51. If it helps African football develop, European supporters should be more tolerant.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Anon at 5:51 pm. It makes me feel very uncomfortable to read some comments about the ACoN. Yes, it's unfortunate that it comes in the middle of the season, but that's why we have a squad system with cover options.

Anonymous said...

The CL problem steems with fake tickets. Liverpool fans knew there would be around 20,000 tickets on the black market from people who got freebies from UEFA.

When you looked on TV at the stadium it was clear that there were more than 17,000 Liverpool fans there. UEFA should be asking questions as to how the other 20 or perhaps 30,000 got their tickets.

The only way to solve it, is to have good stewarding, with names of the ticket holder on the ticket, and you need to bring your passport to the ground.

That way the UEFA tickets could not be sold, so less of a black market.

Coco said...

CAN ANYONE HELP THIS THICK ONE - HOW COME THE SCUM HAVE SIGNED BALE TODAY BUT THE TRANSFER WINDOW HAS YET TO OPEN

AM I BEING THICK - AT LEAST THAT STOPS PEAOPLE LINKING HIM WITH US!!

Anonymous said...

I think the transfer window reopens automatically on the last day of the season