FOOTBALL: Linfield chairman Roy McGivern respects Celtic decision on ticket allocation

Linfield fans at Windsor Park queue for ticket for Linfield's away clash with Celtic in a Champions League qualifier in Celtic Park in the Parkhead area of Glasgow.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Linfield fans at Windsor Park queue for ticket for Linfield's away clash with Celtic in a Champions League qualifier in Celtic Park in the Parkhead area of Glasgow. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

While Linfield are disappointed Celtic chose not to take up their ticket allocation for Friday night’s Champions League second round, first leg, qualifying match at Windsor Park, chairman Roy McGivern respects their decision.

McGivern, who billed the game as one of the biggest in Linfield’s history, said: “I think as a football fan you want to see fans of both clubs getting the opportunity to go to the game.

“I think Celtic fans wanted to come to Windsor on Friday. The fact that so many fans are on our doorstep in terms of so many supporters’ club, it makes it difficult and I do have sympathy for them.

“But you have to respect the wishes of their club and we wouldn’t want to go against those wishes.”

In spite of Celtic’s request to fans there is obvious concern that those locally would look to get tickets, but McGivern explained there were plans in place to help deal with that scenario

“Both clubs have said publicly that Celtic fans will not be allowed to buy tickets.

“Any Celtic fan identified at the game will not be admitted.

“So we have probably done as much as reasonably possibly, and the police will monitor postcodes and where tickets are being bought, and also seat numbers.

“They (PSNI) have a plan in place to manage that on the night so people can be identified if need be.”

McGivern admitted it had been a busy period for the club when the draw was made three weeks ago.

“I think the scale of a game like this is massive.

“There is the surrounding media interest, the rush for tickets and we have had a mad rush for them.

“We have a small window to organise everything, so it has been very busy.

“There is massive interest in the game, and the club has had to manage it all. But I will be happy when 5pm comes around.

“Our job is to manage everything around the game and let David and the staff concentrate on football.

“So we have done that and are ready for Friday, and we are also looking forward to a great game in Glasgow next week.

“To go over and play in an iconic stadium like that will be a huge occasion for our players, and potentially the biggest in their careers.”

McGivern confirmed Linfield had initially been offered an allocation of 1,000 tickets for the away game on July, but they had been successfull in getting a further 1,500.

“That would be our regular away support for a game, explained McGivern.

“These tickets for the away leg are for our members and season ticket holders, and they are on sale for the next two days (yesterday and today).

“There is a potential for more tickets, but I think 1500 might be sufficient.

“Some people who are not happy might not be members or season ticket holders.

“We have to give those people priority. Also there is a safety issue.

“If we sell tickets openly to people who don’t regularly attend Linfield matches, it could pose difficulties,” added McGivern.