Anger as fans miss out in ticket rush

THOUSANDS of Suffolk football fans have been left feeling blue after missing out in the scramble for tickets for England's international at Portman Road next month.

THOUSANDS of Suffolk football fans have been left feeling blue after missing out in the scramble for tickets for England's international at Portman Road next month.

But the Star has four tickets which we aim to give away to deserving fans who have missed out in the dash.

The tickets went on general sale on Sunday morning - and all 19,000 of them sold out within two-and-a-half hours as eager fans snatched all the seats for the Portman Road friendly with Croatia.

Angry football fans were left furious as they hit the redial button but couldn't even get into the queuing system, but the Evening Star DID manage to get hold of four tickets for the big game.

Five Star reporters spent more than two hours trying to get through to selling agents Ticketmaster – but only one managed to get through to the ticket agency.

He was then kept waiting for 20 minutes by the operator before securing four tickets in the Greene King Stand.

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We plan to offer them to Suffolk-based Ipswich Town fans who failed to get tickets in the lead up to the August 20 encounter between England and the team who finished third in the 1998 World Cup.

Telephone callers jammed the switchboard of Ticketmaster as the final allocation of tickets went on sale at 10am.

In one hour those put aside for on-line purchasers had gone and by 12.30pm the last of the tickets for telephone callers had been snapped up.

Tickets were limited to four per person but there were no special arrangements for Ipswich Town fans to guarantee a place at the first full international to be played at Portman Road.

It's the game every Ipswich fan wanted tickets for, not least as it will be skipper David Beckham's first match in England since his big-money summer move from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

Telephone purchasers were reminded that tickets purchased must not be sold on but that didn't stop tickets appearing on auction site ebay within 25 minutes of the 10am threshold.

Four tickets in the North Stand were placed on the site by a person in Altrincham at 10.25am and by Sunday lunchtime had already reached a price of £137.

And as if to rub salt in the wounds of Suffolk people who tried to get tickets, just after 11am an entrepreneur from Stowmarket had decided to place a pair of Cobbold Stand tickets on the site.

They had already reached their face value of £70 and more tickets had appeared on the site since then.

One disgruntled fan who tried to get tickets for her son was Ipswich woman Carol Haggar who was ready with the phone held to her ear at 9.58am.

She said: "I wanted to get tickets for my son Daniel and so I tried two different numbers both for Ticketmaster.

"What annoyed me is that I couldn't even get into a queuing system and didn't get past the operator telling me it was too busy.

"I started ringing two minutes before 10am and spent two-and-a-quarter hours trying to get through by pressing the redial button - I must have tried hundreds of times.

"I agree with the queuing system, but I am just frustrated I didn't get through. They should have had some tickets set aside for Ipswich fans - maybe as many as a couple of thousand. They want Ipswich Town fans to support the club but how can we when we can't even get any tickets for a game like this."

Disappointed son Daniel, 20, a season ticket holder at Portman Road said: "I've never been to a full England game and it was the chance to say I was there for the big game.

"I've been to all the recent big games at Portman Road such as the Inter game, but I'm annoyed I couldn't get a ticket for this one."

The Evening Star had five people trying to buy tickets over the telephone on Sunday morning and only one person managed to get through.

A statement on the official England website said: "This highlights the huge attraction of the England team. It's the first time the national team has played in Ipswich and we're sure everybody who's been fortunate enough to secure a ticket will have a wonderful evening."

n Did you manage to get tickets for the chance in this once in a lifetime chance to see England at Portman Road? Or did you listen to the engaged tone on the phone for two hours and fail to snap any up. Let us know your ticket experiences. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN or email