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Free Ticket to an EPL Match: Tottenham at Chelsea

21 September 2009 No Comment

After spending the afternoon at British Mick’s (who will now be referred to as London Mick) house, I left for the Chelsea match around 3:20 pm without a ticket (the match started at 4 pm). Of course, my bus was late and it took longer than I expected to get to Stamford Bridge. As was the case last time I would be late. However, last time I was concerned about whether I could get a ticket so I bought from a scalper early. This time I was determined to get a cheap ticket even if I was late. By the time I was outside the stadium it was 4:10 pm – not good when attending a local derby without a ticket.

Obtaining Tickets
Generally, with sold out games it is better to arrive early than late so you have the best opportunity to find a ticket from a season ticket holder or a scalper. By arriving late, the ticket may be sold to the best offer because they do not think anyone else will show up.

The first ticket broker I talked to wanted 250 pounds for one ticket – which, of course, is an absurd amount of money for a regular season game. Even though that was his first offer, he was so far out of my price range there was no reason to negotiate. I offered him 50 pounds and he turned me down. I then started to get concerned because I did not notice any other extra tickets. It was a match against Tottenham and anyone who had an extra ticket was probably already inside.

The next thing that happened was part skill and most definitely luck. Normally when I get a free ticket I look for an odd number of people. One person may have two tickets and three people may have four tickets – meaning they have one extra and will give it away since they do not know what else to do with it.

This time I saw two guys talking to security guards at what seemed to be a gate with tickets dangling. Since I was unsure what was going on, I ran over to ask them if they had an extra ticket in desperation (remember this all happens in the matter of seconds). They said they had an extra ticket but there was a catch – they had already entered the stadium on the ticket but were leaving to go somewhere else. The guy with the ticket asked the security guards if they could give me the ticket and would they let me in. A one-for-one swap, right? It makes complete sense to a fan – to a guard not allowed to let anyone re-enter a stadium (especially a different person) not so much. At that moment I started begging (no shame when given a free ticket to a Chelsea match) – “please, please, please, please, please let this happen.” And to my shock the guards let it! They made the guy hand me his ticket and let me in through the exit – not the entrance.

Timing of the Free Ticket
To my shock I was at the Chelsea – Tottenham match. For a match like that timing must be perfect. When getting free tickets to a Cubs or White Sox game timing is not as important since I believe there are quite a few people giving away tickets. However, when the game is sold out and you are late timing is the #1 priority. These steps needed to take place for the free ticket to occur:

1) I left about 15 minutes later than I wanted to from London Mick’s house.
2) I waited for about 15 minutes for the bus to arrive. I had considered taking a taxi but no taxi drove by the bus stop.
3) I got off the bus a few stops early since there was so much traffic on the road. I walked / ran to Stamford Bridge after that.
4) My instincts told me the guys leaving the stadium had an extra ticket and I ran over. You must always be aggressive when trying to get to a game. Note: These guys actually had two tickets. If the Ultimate Sports Wife had been with me she probably would have gotten in as well – although her presence probably would have affected the timing of our arrival which would have resulted in no tickets.

The Game
Chelsea defeated Tottenham convincingly 3-0 on goals by Ashley Cole (31st), Michael Ballack (57th) and Didier Drogba (62nd). The victory gave Chelsea a record 11 straight wins. However, Drogba exited the game in the 83rd minute due to a calf injury.

The main controversy of the match came in the 54th minute when Robbie Keane went down after a challenge from Ricardo Carvalho. Tottenham should have had a penalty kick but referee Howard Webb did not call a penalty.

Once thing I did not mention was that the ticket I received stated that it was a suite seat. However, when I asked the ushers where my seat was they directed me to an actual seat. I figured it must have been a pre-game meal which was why the guys went for the meal but left for the match. What I figured out later was that I probably could have gone into the suite during halftime for dessert and drinks. Everyone in my section was gone during halftime so they must have gone into the suites.

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