Lucky Liverpool fans get hottest ticket in town for Euro final

Belfast bar manager Colm Oates is one the lucky Liverpool fans from Northern Ireland to have got their hands on a ticket for the Champions League final in Paris.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th May 2022, 8:28 pm

Colm is a familiar face at the Garrick Bar in Belfast city centre, but almost as well known at Anfield which has become a second home in recent years.

Liverpool outplayed Villareal to win the semi-final 5-2 on aggregate, setting up a mouth-watering final against Real Madrid in the Stade de France tonight.

There is a bit of recent history between the two giants of European football, with Real Madrid beating Liverpool in the 2018 final.

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Sanj Passi (left) and Colm Oates on their way to Paris for the Champions League Final

Colm said concerns over recent Easyjet flight cancellations at short notice made the build-up to the trip slightly uncomfortable for many supporters.

“There are a few of us going over together, with a couple of fans who flew from Belfast into Paris but the big panic was Easyjet, so there was contingency plan, and there were also Ryanair flights from Dublin this evening (Friday).

“Nothing was going to stop us getting there, but you’ve got to have a back-up plan,” he said.

“I look after the ticketing for the Dungannon and Cookstown Liverpool Supporters Club.

“This year, so far, I’ve been to Athletico Madrid away, Benfica away and then Villareal away in the semi-final.”

Colm said he was just old enough to have watched the great Liverpool side that made regular appearances in European finals in the early 1980s... and got hooked.

“I was born in 1975 so I was around six or seven, when you pick up your team, and they were doing so well then in that era in the 1980s,” he said.

And the love affair has continued ever since.

“I was over at the Wolves game on Sunday as well. there were a lot of us from the supporters’ club, about 40 of us over to that one, then I got home on Tuesday and away again today (Friday).

“We got more tickets than we’ve ever got for a final in years, but there is a lot of time taken up to do that. You’ve got to know all the ins and out of it. We had other options like the Uefa ballot every year and anybody can apply for that, so we would apply for that and hope for the best as well.”

Colm said there is plenty to look forward to in Paris apart from the football.

“We are heading to an event tonight called the Anfield Rap where they have a podcast and a Q&A, and there’s music on at an event in Paris tonight. Then there is the fan zone in Paris tomorrow where the Lightening Seeds are playing,” he added.