Friday, 20 February 2015

Seville 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach, Europa League, Thursday 19th February 2015

Seville 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach, att 26,850

Welcome to the ....
Another week, another foreign match, another lesson learnt.  Even when under no doubt that the match won’t be a sellout, if you’re there a day or so early, go and make the effort buy a ticket in advance.    Or you know what happens – no tickets to be sold on the day of the game.  ‘Security concerns’.  Something about trouble in an earlier European  game, apparently.  Obviously, ‘security concerns’ doesn’t include the anger of fans without tickets, touts selling to all and sundry…

View from the car park

So, yes, I rocked up a few hours before kick-off (beat the rush and all) only to find there was no rush.  No, I can’t have a ticket.  ‘Could I have bought a ticket if I’d come yesterday?’  ‘Yes.’  Dammit.  I’d been given the remit of a) getting tickets and b) preferably in the away end (my other half has a soft spot for Gladbach) and I’d failed on both.  A long way to come for no match, especially when we chose our break based on who was at home in the Europa League ‘Round of 16’.  Beers in Brussels was a goer, though the thought of February sun in Seville won through.

You climb here at your peril

It’d been the correct decision too, till then.   The Alcazar, Italica, a bullring (the 2nd oldest in Spain), flamenco, cheap red wine, amazing tapas…Seville has it all.  Even a very big cathedral, if that’s your bag.  So I mused, what to do about a ticket.  Wandering away from the stadium I was immediately accosted by an elderly tout.  Old, but not senile.   His English wasn’t great but his younger mate had a phone in which he typed the asking price.  €100 for one, which rapidly dropped to €80.  ‘How much for two?’  €140.  I offered €120.  He laughed.  I wasn’t going higher than that.

It's seen better days

So I walked to some bars around the corner and went inside to ask various Gladbach fans if they had any spare tickets. No, sadly not, so I went back to the stadium and sat on some steps contemplating my next move.  I could see various Spanish touts operating and they all looked like they were part of the same gang.  Then, right before me, I heard an Irish guy ask a Gladbach fan if he had a spare. He did, or his mate did, and while said mate asked for €60 and started getting the tickets out, he was pounced on by 2 blokes in dark clothing, roughing him up and padding him down.  I wondered if they were ‘rival’ touts, but when they carted him off, it was obvious they were undercover police.  Happy to ignore the blatant Spanish touting, but only too keen to jump on a Gladbach fan with spares.  Anyone would think there were backhanders going on…

I still love its look

20 mins later I saw said German return and I approached him and told him I’d seen what had happened and did he have any spare tickets. The police had taken the half a dozen he had off him, but he thought his mates in the pub had more. Seemed some fans had dropped out of coming and they had a few to be rid of. We retired to the bar, he spoke to his mates about what amount of money to ask for now they’d lost some tickets and I gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse. €150.  Outrageous, but I’d rather be subsidizing fellow fans than adding to the coffers of some greasy fat Spanish tout.  (There was one who befitted this description; I’m trying to get him out of my mind.)

Come on Gladbach!

Having bought me a beer, I then had to get back into town to meet up with the other half.  So we had a German beer (Paulaner) and got into the role of Gladbach sympathisers.  Then it was off to the stadium, a 20 minute walk down the same street our hotel was in.  Easy.
The stadium is magnificent, if showing its age slightly.  Chipped concrete, peeling paint, that kind of thing. But the famous mural on one side of the stadium makes up for it.  Tis a beautiful thing.  The stadium is one big bowl, with a small roof on one side to protect rich locals from the sun.  But the steep stands keep the noise in and when the locals all start waving their scarves around their heads  it’s a sight to behold.   The crowd looked bigger than the official 26,850 but it was a decent atmosphere, especially with 3000+ Germans in the corner.

Here's a clever place to stand.  (I got his boss to move him.)

The match was open, though neither team ever seemed able to thread that final pass, however unmarked fellow team members were.  I just got the impression that if either side were prepared to risk things a bit more, they’d walk away with the game.  Then, just as we were prepared for a goalless draw, Iborra, an awkward looking midfielder who looked more suited to centre half, scored.  Seville attacked down the right and the winger pulled the ball back for Iborra to mishit a bobbler which crept into the far corner.  1-0, game over.
Overall, I’d highly recommend a trip to Seville and the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.  I’d love to come back to Seville one day.  After all, there’s still Betis to see!

The Damage:
€150 2 tickets
€1.50 water
€10 scarf
€4 mug
= €165.50

On a stadium tip...the amphitheatre at Italica

On a stadium tip...the bullring in Seville (2nd oldest in Spain).

Gladbach fans pre-match

Stadium plan

They do like a bit of ceramic in Seville

Pre-match scarfer

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