Euro 2016: Fan has ticket for Wales match, but can’t afford to get there

Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal against Ukraine that helped earn Northern Ireland their place in the last 16
Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal against Ukraine that helped earn Northern Ireland their place in the last 16

Many loyal Northern Ireland fans who cheered Michael O’Neill’s men on as they battled their way out of Group C and into the knockout stages of Euro 2016 have been priced out of making a return to see their heroes.

Bryan Livingstone from Moira was in France for each of the three group games – and has a ticket for the Wales game in Paris which he confidently booked prior to the tournament kicking off – but is now unlikely to get back to Paris for what could be the team’s grand finale.

Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring against Ukraine in Lyon. �INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Gareth McAuley celebrates scoring against Ukraine in Lyon. �INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

He said he is “gutted” that the demand for flights means he will be watching from the Fan Zone in Belfast.

“Even all the hubs over on the mainland all of the flights are sold out. At the minute it really doesn’t look good,” he said.

“I thought ahead and have my [match] ticket but I just can’t pay £500 plus to go back. And that’s just a single fare – not even a return – and then you have your hotel on top of that.

“I was over at the other three games and I just couldn’t justify that.

“There are going to be a lot of disappointed fans. I am gutted because it’s the biggest game since 1982. I will probably end up watching it in the Fan Zone in Belfast.

“It would take you to already be on the French mainland to get there at a reasonable cost.”

Mr Livingstone added: “I noticed a couple of seats available if you go via Birmingham or Southampton, but a lot of the Welsh fans are going from there – and the seats were over £500 for a single fare.”