Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What a Bhoy Band! New Record as 50,000 Fans Hope to Join Celtic Victory Party

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What a Bhoy Band! New Record as 50,000 Fans Hope to Join Celtic Victory Party

Article excerpt


FORGET the orange, Seville is a mass of green and white today. More than 50,000 supporters have descended here in what UEFA believes is the biggest international movement of fans ever seen. They have come in the hope of seeing Martin O'Neill's side record an historic victory against FC Porto in the UEFA Cup Final here tonight - Celtic's first European final for 33 years.

Most do not have tickets but, wearing their colours with pride, they have been pouring in from as far away as New Zealand and Los Angeles.

Hotels in the city - from cheap to extremely costly - have long been booked out and latecomers are being farmed out to outlying towns and villages.

As a result the so far goodnatured Celtic invasion has spread throughout Andalucia, taking in Malaga and the Costa del Sol.

There are even fans holed up hundreds of miles away in Madrid, which has a fast train connection to Seville, and Portugal.

UEFA spokesman Graham Turner said: "This must be the biggest movement of fans ever. I have never seen anything like it.

"The information we have from Spanish police and Celtic is there will be more than 50,000 of them in the city and that includes a large amount without tickets.

"People in other European countries cannot comprehend it because elsewhere it is not part of the culture.

Real Madrid only took 2,300 people to Juventus for the European Cup semifinal. The Spanish do not follow their teams in the same way."

It is a shame that it will only be a minority of Celtic fans in Spain who will be at the game. The club were only allocated 15,700 tickets in the 52,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

UEFA believes that of 12,000 tickets which went on sale to neutrals, 8,000 went directly to Scottish addresses and it is a fair bet that most of the others have since gone the same way at a premium.

Porto fans have been conspicuous by their absence in the city over the last few days but their ticket allocation was also sold as soon as it went on sale so it is no surprise that black market sellers are demanding upwards of [pounds sterling]600 for tickets with a face value of [pounds sterling]30-[pounds sterling]50. …

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