Getting tickets to a football match in the UK?
November 14, 2004 2:04 PM   Subscribe

UK Mefiers - Need advice on how to procure tickets to a proper football match.

My husband is an Arsenal super fan and while our Tivo is flush with recorded games – he’s never seen one live. The ticket schemes seem like you have to get put on a waiting list when you are born to ever hope to buy a ticket from the club – so what’s a couple visiting from San Francisco to do to get tickets for the Fullham game on the 26th? I’ve seen a few online brokers – are there any that have a better or worse reputation? My understanding is that reselling tickets is illegal – but what are our chances if we loiter around Highbury on game day? Any advice welcomed...
posted by Wolfie to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) offer UK football match tickets direct without a waiting list.

In fact, they have your ticket for sale here.

I know they may seem like just another online seller, but I've had a couple of mates buy tickets off them without a problem - though they do look pricey from what I've just seen.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:15 PM on November 14, 2004

Yep....and ticketmaster is good for Arsenal games as well...I have to warn you that the boxing day games (26/12) are often sold out, its a traditional family day for going to games.
posted by mattr at 2:20 PM on November 14, 2004

I live right beside Highbury (Arsenal's ground) so have a little knowledge of this.

All home tickets for Arsenal league and European games in the past eighteen months have sold out to club members. You can become a member by calling up and joining, but you won't be allowed to buy tickets until you get to the second level of membership, which takes a while (I'm still on the first level, a year after joining).

Ticketmaster won't sell to you unless you're a member.

So, if you want to go you'll have to get tickets from dodgy channels. As far as I understand it, reselling tickets is a breach of contract, it's not actually a criminal offence. And you certainly won't be arrested for buying from a tout (that's what we call scalpers!). Touts do stand outside the ground selling tickets on matchday, so if you have enough money and you get there early enough, I'd be reasonably confident in predicting that you would get in.

I don't know anything about online brokers - it might be worth a shot, but some of them are just con artists.

Do check as well, obviously.

Fingers crossed for you - if I hear of anyone with spare tickets, I'll let you know (don't think too much about this, it won't happen!).
posted by ascullion at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2004

Oh, and, there's always the hospitality tickets - except they cost at least £250 each for the Fulham game, and I'm not sure how strict they are about only selling to businesses.
posted by ascullion at 2:41 PM on November 14, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks ascullion.

I have ready that ebay disallows ticket selling on its UK site. Is this not true? My search some time ago yielded only ticket stubs and programs from games past.

I saw the package tickets and I'm trying to decide if I really am that great of a wife... While I sure wouldn't mind seeing Henry in action, $930 seems just a bit ridiculous.
posted by Wolfie at 2:54 PM on November 14, 2004

Henry's on poor form at the moment anyway!

People definitely sell tickets on ebay. If someone makes a fuss, ebay get uptight and release statements saying that it's against their terms and conditions, but I've bought a number of tickets above face value on ebay (and sold one, to my shame).
posted by ascullion at 3:13 PM on November 14, 2004

Also, don't know if you know this, but Arsenal are building a new stadium around the corner from the old one. This means that it'll probably be easier to get tickets in a couple of years time (it'll hold nearly twice as many people) - but also that you might not have another chance to go to the old Highbury. Which, for all its faults, is a lovely place to watch football (like stepping into a bygone era).
posted by ascullion at 3:16 PM on November 14, 2004

Different club, but in the years before I could afford a season ticket I mainly got my tickets through a fan only mailing list. Never missed out a game I really wanted to see.

A lot of fans who have tickets, but are a bit sniffy about the prospects of them getting into the hands of neutrals or even away supporters, will use these instead as there's a much better chance the ticket will go to a home fan. I've even had others' season tickets through this route - normally by meeting up with one of their friends/family, and having the ticket in my hand for about as long as it takes to get through the turnstile.

If you go down this route, you need to check your messages regularly - they tend to come up on a first come-first served basis.
posted by monkey closet at 1:08 AM on November 15, 2004

Although I'm not a football fan, in past experience from going to concerts, there are always ticket touts hovering outside the venue selling tickets. However be prepared to pay extortionate prices and for the touts to be very pushy - and yes it is illegal.
posted by floanna at 1:59 AM on November 15, 2004

However be prepared to pay extortionate prices and for the touts to be very pushy - and yes it is illegal

What is illegal - to buy or sell?
posted by ascullion at 8:45 AM on November 15, 2004

Have done my own research..

Apparently, the Criminal Justice Act states..

"It is an offence for an unauthorised person to sell, or offer or expose for sale, a ticket for a designated football match in any public place to which the public has access or, in the course of a trade or business, in any other place."

So, it seems, ticket touting is only illegal at football matches (law largely arose in the aftermath of the Hillborough disaster). It's still not illegal to buy one, as far as I can tell.
posted by ascullion at 8:52 AM on November 15, 2004

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