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Carling Cup: QPR at Chelsea

23 September 2009 No Comment

After visiting British Mick, I took the same bus (#295) I had on Sunday afternoon back to Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s Carling Cup match against Queens Park Rangers (QPR). This time I left earlier so I would not be late for the match which probably meant I would need to pay for my ticket.

Obtaining Tickets
At first I thought I would check to see if tickets were available for the match at the main ticket office. However, when I approached the security guards at the box office they said the match was sold out unless you were a season ticket holder or member. I am not sure why Chelsea has this rule but it makes no sense to me. I was willing to pay for a ticket but they did not want to sell one to me. The rule was not going to keep me out of the match – it just keeps ticket prices higher on the secondary market since ticket touts know you have to buy through them rather than the team.

Instead I went to negotiate with the ticket touts along Fulham Rd. The first tout wanted £70. The second tout wanted £40. I could see there were more touts who had extra tickets so I walked up the entrance to the Fulham Broadway tube station since that is where I bought my ticket for the Arsenal at Chelsea match I attended last year on November 30, 2008. Most touts wanted £35 to £40 and the occasional tout wanted £60. I would ask what face value was and they all replied “It’s sold out to you.”

Next I found a fan trying to sell his two extra tickets to a tout. One rule of trying to buy tickets on the secondary market – ticket scalpers become angry when you get involved in their negotiation. In fact, it downright pisses them off. At this point, rather than worry about this rule, I butted into the negotiation with my usual statement – “I am going to the game and will pay more than what the tout is offering.” It is never much more but the fan with the extra tickets always listens. However, this time the tout (who the fan was negotiating with) was not pleased with my move. He started screaming “you are going to get us all nicked, do you want to get us all nicked?” Nicked is British slang for arrested.

Then I somehow got into only negotiating with him. After my move, he said he would only sell me a ticket for £100 – a tactic to threaten me. However, with multiple scalpers standing in the area I was ready to move on. I gave him a final offer of £25 which he did not accept initially (remember all these negotiations take place in the matter or minutes if not seconds). He asked for £30 which I said no to and began to move onto another ticket tout. He accepted my offer of £25.

This was one of my tougher negotiations for a game that was not sold out – the main reason being that Chelsea was not selling tickets on the day of the game. If Chelsea was selling tickets I would use their price of £19.50 as my negotiating leverage and force the ticket tout to sell for less than that (unless I was looking for a specific seat then my negotiating position is compromised).

Pre Game Dining
Since I bought my ticket 45 minutes before the match was scheduled to begin I thought I would grab a pint at one of the pubs outside of Stamford Bridge. However, the bars that were near the stadium were both completely packed and extremely hot (So-Bar) and for Chelsea supporters only (Café Brazil). Although since my ticket was in the Chelsea supporters section (Matthew Harding Lower) I was able to enter both pubs. However, rather than enter either pub, I decided to enter the stadium and bought one of the pint and pie meal deals Stamford Bridge offers.

The Game
My ticket for the match was different from where I normally sit in the upper deck. Instead, I was in the Chelsea supporters section four rows from the field, just left of the goal. To my dismay about a quarter of the upper deck was empty from the tickets Chelsea would not sell. Attendance at the match was 37,781 – 4,000 people less than the other two matches I have attended at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea defeated QPR 1-0 behind a 52nd minute goal by Salomon Kalou. Joe Cole, who set up the goal, played in the match after returning from an eight month break after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments.

The most annoying part of sitting in the Chelsea supporters section was that they chanted “If you hate Tottenham stand up” the entire match and would stand for the next minute or so. This caused some fans in the section to start chanting “If you hate Tottenham sit down.” The chant must come from a historical dislike of Tottenham since Tottenham is not a threat to Chelsea anymore.

Post Game Train
After the game I took the tube immediately back to the Kennington area as not to be stuck in Chelsea after the game as I had been in Arsenal the night before. On the train ride back there were two girls and their father (Chelsea fans) who were drunker than most of the fans I see post game around Wrigley Field. They sang the entire way until I got off at Embankment to change to the Bakerloo line.

I met Big Chris at the Grand Union (a short walk south from the Lambeth North tube station) for a pint before heading back to his place to go to sleep to get up early. Big Chris and I discussed the possibility of me staying three more days at his place when I returned – Thursday, October 1, Sunday, October 4 (we were going to the Arsenal match together that day anyway) and Tuesday, October 6. He said that would be fine so I was set for my stays in London.

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