Seeing a childhood Man Utd pal stump up three grand, only to suffer a mauling from Messi & co. – positively priceless!
It occurred to me that events over the past couple of days might be of sufficient interest to merit transcribing. So dependent on your point of view, I guess you could say it's a Bernie (as opposed to a Brucie) bonus. Who knows, the Examiner might end up printing it and then I'd be no better than those mentioned below, profiting from the misery of the Man Utd faithful :-)
On the basis that this will be my last missive for at least a couple of months - unless I can tempt fate to encourage Arsène to break the bank - here's wishing one and all a wonderful summer
As an Arsenal fan, I assumed my footie season had long since kicked the bucket and all that was left, was for me to enviously watch events unfold on the box at Wembley this weekend, as an interested bystander. Albeit that much like every other Gooner, I was desperate for the consolation of a Man Utd defeat, which might validate the fact that we actually gave the best team on the planet a decent run for their money!
However when I received a plea on Thursday from my old mate Sean, a Man U season-ticket holder, who lives amongst the hordes of Surrey Reds in the Weybridge stockbroker belt, searching for a pair of tickets for him and his lad, prepared to pay up to £800 a pop, I had to empathize. If the Gunners were involved in the final, I’d have given my right arm to be there.
Although in saying that I was brought up with a strict moral code, drummed into me by my old man, whereby I’ve always refused to pay over the odds for football tickets and to never have any dealings with the pond scum touts, who make their living leeching off my fellow fans. But then my moral compass is not so relevant nowadays, as I’ve several affluent Arsenal pals who regularly make a tidy profit on their wheeler-dealings with Club seats and corporate packages at Wembley and the Emirates.
One of my mates doesn’t even use his Wembley Club seats when he goes to England games, preferring to sit amongst the real fans. But apparently his investment pays for itself, so long as there’s half a dozen sufficiently glamorous occasions for him to be able to flog them for an exorbitant price. And it’s hard to argue with his justification, as it’s not like he’s fleecing a month’s hard-earned wages from your ordinary punter and stealing food from the mouths of their kids.
Amidst the modern day culture of obscene (corporate) excess, invariably such inflated ticket prices are the exclusive privilege of those with limitless expense accounts, or with more disposable income than sense. They’re not victims of extortion, but willing participants in the sort of madness that’s responsible for pricing genuine fans out of the game, merely so they can enjoy the kudos of being able to say they were present on the night!
Having felt obliged to put some feelers out, I wasn’t the least bit hopeful of being able to help Sean out. The Examiner’s Man Utd Terrace Talk contributor informed me that tickets were going for £4k a pair and another pal told me he had ticketless punters over from the US, willing to hand over a helluva lot more than my mate.
By complete coincidence, I received a text on Friday morning from a colleague’s missus, asking if I knew anyone wanting her pal’s spare Wembley ticket for £1200. I guess with Sean growing increasingly desperate, he said he’d take it. But then someone conjured up a pair for £3k and with him wanting to share the occasion with his son and justifying the expense with the excuse that it was his 50th birthday next month, he decided he’d rather bite this batty-priced bullet than risk missing out.
However no sooner had I sent a text to my colleague’s missus to say Sean had paid £3k for a pair elsewhere, than the pound signs must’ve blinded her pal and his loyalty to Man Utd’s cause must’ve found it’s natural ceiling. I received a text straight back, to say that he might consider floggiing both his tickets for such a lucrative return.
I’m not knocking him, as I must admit that I might be tempted if the sale of a single ticket could pay for an entire season's worth of footie at the Emirates (albeit not at the cost of missing out on the possibility of seeing the Gunners win the Champions League!) but it did amuse me. I had the brainwave of putting him in touch with my other mate, with the wedged-up punters.
So having started out merely trying to come to Sean’s aid, suddenly I found myself as the intermediary in another convoluted transaction, where all parties would benefit, be this with Wembley tickets or huge wads of cash, apart from me (further proof that I must’ve been last in the queue when they were handing out the Jewish genes)!
Even my colleague’s missus got a touch, when she received a ton for all her texting troubles, after her pal bunged her a few notes from the large bundle of readies my mate thrust into his grubby mitts, after agreeing to pay £2.6k for his pair of tickets. I’ve yet to discover how much he sold them on for, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have schlepped all the way over to Dulwich unless he was on a handsome earner.
He was also delighted because it meant he could stick two fingers up at some other greedy bugger, who was one of the fortunate few to receive two tickets for £300 in the UEFA ballot. Having heard in the media that tickets were going for £2.5k, he told my pal he’d rather go to the match than accept a penny less. So my intervention enabled my mate to send this unscrupulous tyke a smug text, suggesting he “enjoy the game”!
Barca’s performance might’ve been the epitome of the beautiful game but I wonder if he ended up regretting not pocketing a couple of thousand quid for this 90-minute privilege? And what of poor Sean, consoling his kid as they trudged out of Wembley, three grand the poorer. With Utd’s defeat putting him at risk of some merciless teasing, do I stand to lose out on my only chance of some material gain from this sordid business? Assuming he can still afford it, I’m not sure he’s going to be quite so keen to shout me for lunch.
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