This is generally the most common question received is, “Can you help me find tickets to a game in England”. First below is something Peter recently wrote for Bob Sturm’s Substack, and benath that is a podcast of a recent interview with Adam, a English gent, who moonlights as a broker of tickets, and is whom the show has pointed Bob, themselves and many P1’s towards in search of tickets.
The process of getting tickets to games in England is considerably different than in the United States. You need to be prepared for several hurdles and the common issue that they do not operate under Norm’s belief of a “Schedule for Humans.”
No matter how the methods of getting tickets you first need to find the games you want to go to and how many tickets. Having this info set will be the first thing any broker, app, or club will ask you. The next is the reality that you can’t really do much planning until 6-8 weeks in advance because the European football calendar is subject to change, midseason, depending on how that club’s progress goes in different tournaments parallel to the league season. For example: You may want to go see Liverpool play Newcastle on a date that appears set on the league calendar. But, if one of those teams progresses in a mid-week European tournament, or domestic Cup tournament that date could very well shift from a Saturday to the next day, Sunday – or get rescheduled for a later date altogether.
Yes, this makes trip planning very difficult and anyone who has done this trip more than once has had their heart broken a game they were looking forward to was rescheduled. The best advice is to be mentally ready for it, and have a Plan B for other games you’d like to attend that do not get shifted. If you’re in London, do not worry, there will almost certainly be plenty of options to choose from.
Now on to the “how.” There are basically three general ways to go about this: Via the club directly, via a ticketing service or via a broker.
Clubs: When compared to how it’s done over here, this is the most unusual process. Over there the process of dividing fans of the two teams into their own areas is a really big deal, so clubs will only sell tickets to their games for seats intended for fans of their club. In an attempt to foster this, you have to become a member of their club by registering. The process to do this differs from club to club, it’s not really that big a deal, but it adds a step in the process most of us are not used to. Once done you will have access to buy single-game tickets, but availability will differ from club to club. This will also apply to buying both home and away matches. This will also be the least expensive way (ie: face value).
Ticketing Services (aka: online): While this has gotten better and more secure over the years, the internet is fraught with scams. There is StubHub and similarly named platforms that sell and re-sell tickets. As with those services here in the US, “your mileage may vary” and as already stated the security of ending up with official tickets is better than ever, you will want to do your own research and take all the preventative steps to insure you end up with the real deal. This will also be a more expensive route.
Brokers: Another option is to work through the existing network of individual brokers and this too is filled with a lot of danger. The trick to this is finding someone who comes recommended to you by someone you trust. This group generally works by re-selling seats that belong to season ticket holders of that club. This bypasses the need to jump through the hurdles of becoming a member of the club and also is a great way to find tickets to the biggest and most hard-to-find matches. This practice falls into a category that some people find offensive (season ticket holders re-selling seats for profit) and also could mean you’re sitting in a group of home fans and while your team is the opponent. Which, by the way, is a somewhat more intimidating experience over there than it is here. This will also be the most expensive option. Lastly, the concierge at your hotel should also (if they offer the service) be considered a good option in this catagory.