Fans snap up 13,000 Dons fi­nal tick­ets

Dons chief backs fans to make it a sell- -out this time

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY SEAN WAL­LACE CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

ABERDEEN are con­fi­dent the Red Army will snap up their 20,000 al­lo­ca­tion for the Bet­fred Cup fi­nal – af­ter more than 13,000 briefs were sold in the first night of sales.

Tick­ets for the De­cem­ber 2 clash with Celtic are on sale now.

The Dons pushed for a 50-50 split for the semi against Rangers, but were left red faced when the SPFL took back 5,000 due to poor sales.

ABERDEEN chiefs are con­fi­dent the Red Army will snap up all 20,000 tick­ets for the Bet­fred Cup fi­nal.

The Dons ne­go­ti­ated 20,000 briefs for the fi­nal against Celtic at Ham­p­den on De­cem­ber 2 and have an­nounced fans bought more than 13,000 as sales be­gan last night.

Pit­to­drie chiefs suc­cess­fully se­cured a sim­i­lar al­lo­ca­tion for the semi with Rangers, which Derek Mcinnes’ side won 1-0.

Hav­ing ini­tially been al­lo­cated 16,800 for the semi, the Reds took a hard-line stance in push­ing for a 50-50 split of tick­ets.

They won the bat­tle, with the fig­ure in­creased to 20,300, yet had to suf­fer the em­bar­rass­ment of the SPFL tak­ing back more than 5,000 due to sales lower than the Reds an­tic­i­pated.

Those re­claimed tick­ets were sub­se­quently made avail­able to Rangers sup­port­ers.

Ul­ti­mately, around 11,000 Aberdeen fans made the trip to the na­tional sta­dium – a num­ber al­ready eclipsed for the fi­nal.

Asked if the Dons ex­pect to sell their full al­lo­ca­tion, Aberdeen FC board mem­ber and com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Rob Wicks said: “I think so. If you look back at the sale of tick­ets for our past fi­nals against Celtic we av­er­aged 19,000.

“If that is an indi­ca­tion I am con­fi­dent.

“There is no rea­son why we can­not have a fan­tas­tic turn-out for the Bet­fred Cup fi­nal.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity for Aberdeen in a fi­nal that we are ca­pa­ble of win­ning.”

The SPFL with­drew the semi­fi­nal tick­ets 10 days be­fore the Ham­p­den clash with Rangers af­ter reg­is­ter­ing that less than 100 had been sold on one day.

When the briefs were taken back, around 9,000 Dons fans had bought tick­ets. That would in­crease by a fur­ther 2,000.

Such is the con­fi­dence the Red Army will flock to the fi­nal the Pit­to­drie board took the de­ci­sion to un­der­write 16,400 seats which will en­sure Dons sup­port­ers get ac­cess to the best seats.

Aberdeen’s push for an in­creased al­lo­ca­tion for the Rangers semi-fi­nal ul­ti­mately back-fired and was mis­judged.

Wicks ad­mits to “dis­ap­point­ment” at the num­ber of Aberdeen fans for the semi-fi­nal. How­ever, he be­lieves there were fac­tors sur­round­ing the semi-fi­nal which hit the turn-out.

The semi-fi­nals were dogged by chaos and con­tro­versy with Aberdeen and Hearts highly crit­i­cal of the orig­i­nal plan to play both games in one day at Ham­p­den.

Aberdeen also hit out at the orig­i­nal time of their semi, which was noon on a Sun­day. It was too early for many Dons sup­port­ers to get to Glas­gow by train.

The other semi be­tween Celtic and Hearts was sched­uled for 7.45pm – also at Ham­p­den.

Even­tu­ally SPFL chiefs bowed to pres­sure af­ter po­lice raised con­cerns about hav­ing 100,000 fans in Glas­gow at the same venue on the same day.

Aberdeen’s game was moved to a later 4.30pm kick-off with Hearts v Celtic switched to Mur­ray­field at 1.30pm.

Wicks said: “It was some­what dis­ap­point­ing for the semi-fi­nal with the num­bers we got.

“With all of the con­fu­sion that rained down be­fore­hand in terms of al­lo­ca­tion of venue.

“A lot of peo­ple had made

plans to be away once they knew they didn’t want to be in town for two games on the same day.

“Once it got sorted with one game in Ed­in­burgh and the other in Glas­gow by that stage a lot of peo­ple had prob­a­bly made plans.

“The semi-fi­nal was in the school hol­i­days as well and it prob­a­bly wasn’t the most con­ve­nient kick­off time for Aberdeen fans.

“There were some mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors but I would still have liked to have seen that num­ber higher.

“How­ever, we are con­fi­dent we will get a very good turn-out for the fi­nal.”

Aberdeen brought 20,000 fans to the 2016 Scot­tish Cup fi­nal with Celtic (2-1 loss) and 18,000 for the League Cup fi­nal (3-0 loss) against the Hoops the same sea­son.

Tick­ets for De­cem­ber’s fi­nal went on sale on­line only last night for fans with 80+ loy­alty points or who at­tended the League Cup semi-fi­nal.

Tick­ets for those lead buyer fans were to­day avail­able from the ticket of­fice and by phone.

Wicks said: “We are hugely proud as a foot­ball club and as a team for mak­ing it that far.

“It is tremen­dous for the club and great credit to Derek who has taken us to a num­ber of semis and a num­ber of fi­nals.

“It wasn’t the pret­ti­est of semis, but we got there and the lads de­serve to be at that fi­nal.

“I know the lads are go­ing to be up for a great fight against Celtic.”

The Red Army put on a great Ham­p­den dis­play but some tick­ets had al­ready been re­turned

con­fi­dent com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Rob Wicks is Aberdeen

Aberdeen fans at Ham­p­den for the Bet­fred semi-fi­nal

Aberdeen fans had a mes­sage for the pow­ers that be

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