Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Arsenal Fans' Last Minute Tangle in Paris for Tickets

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Arsenal Fans' Last Minute Tangle in Paris for Tickets

Article excerpt

Byline: SHEKHAR BHATIA

A FRANTIC scramble was under way in Paris today as Arsenal fans desperately attempted to buy tickets for tonight's Champions League final against Barcelona.

Thousands of supporters began a hunt as the black-market price soared to [pounds sterling]1,200 on the streets and [pounds sterling]1,500 on the internet.

In St Denis, near the stadium, two armed raiders - believed to be Parisian gunmen rather than Arsenal fans - burst into the town hall in a bid to get seats.

The masked men ordered the councillors to lie on the ground before demanding tickets.

They left empty-handed. St Denis mayor Didier Paillard said: "We never have any tickets, just invitations which cannot be sold."

Others tried more conventional methods. Some supporters placed classified ads in newspapers and posted handbills in phone booths.

And some gathered at the Eurostar terminal waving banners declaring their desperation to see the match - which may be captain Thierry Henry's last.

Others toured pubs, restaurants and tourist spots and were being asked to lay out more than 2,000 per cent over the face value to see Arsenal in their first Champions League final.

Financial broker Jeff Clutton, 60, from Rayleigh in Essex, was fortunate to have been sold a seat by the club at [pounds sterling]48. He said: "I know how lucky I am.

The system has failed most fans and that just isn't right as the stadium has 80,000 seats.

"This is a match every Arsenal fan wants to see and it is disappointing only around 20,000 have been allowed to buy tickets."

Michael Weeks, from Epsom, who works for London auctioneer Christie's, said: "I have been an Arsenal supporter for 39 years and am a season ticket holder, and would have been gutted not to have been able to see the match.

But I do feel for the many who have come to Paris without any chance at all."

Many Arsenal fans drank into the early hours in bars along the Champs Elysees, singing Henry's name and begging him to stay. …

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