Michael 84

Olympic Football Ticket Shambles At St. James’ Park

Monday, 30th July, 2012

So yesterday I went to the Olympic football, and the event was good, but the ticketing, staff and security was a complete joke.

I bought my tickets around 3 months ago, I believe it was the day they went on sale, for the Spain vs Honduras and Japan vs Morocco games. If you read my blog you will know I LOVE Spain, and this would be the first Spain game I would see, and in my home town of Newcastle. I paid for the best seats, category A £40 per ticket, as I wanted the best seats in the house.

The tickets finally came, and I had amazing seats, I was allocated seating in the directors box! I was happy and excited about this for weeks building up to the game. They are the best seats in the ground and so happy that I got my tickets early and was able to sit here. However on the day it turned out it was not to be….

We walked into the ground, at the Milburn end; For these tickets you did not go through a turnstile you had to use the Milburn Reception. There was security at the revolving doors so I asked them, and they said “see that woman”. The woman then went on to tell us:

 “Your seats have been given away to members of the Olympic family”.

WTF?!?! I paid a lot of money and bought them 3 months in advance and now they have decided to give my seats to someone for free while I get moved to somewhere else. This happened to at least 3 groups of us, who were all in this small line. She worked for the security, and basically said she could do nothing, and if we wanted to complain to contact LOCOG. There were no staff at the whole ground who we could talk to, that was the end of the matter, we had a choice of not as good seats or go home. We got to keep our original tickets as a souvenir (lucky us) and were given new tickets in a different place.

So then it was time to go into the ground. We got body searched, and then went straight in. Got to the seats, they were good seats, but not the ones I had paid for and not the ones I was allocated, and if they were so good why did they not give these to the “Olympic family“?.

To make matters worse when we got into the ground we could see the section we should have been in, and there were plenty of empty seats.

None of the fans sitting together

When I got my tickets you had to select which team you followed. I obviously selected Spain. I imagine this is so they put all the same fans together, so they can all sit together, and make for a better atmosphere. However this did not happen. All the fans were mixed all around the ground, so the atmosphere was not as good as it could have been. There were pockets of fans spread out round the ground, they should have organised it better and had the fans sitting together.

Follow the rules…Erm, what rules?!

There is a huge list of rules you are supposed to follow when going to the ground. There is a list of restricted items and prohibited items, if you are interested in reading the huge list you can see it here.

However it seems that the staff did not seem to care and took a blind eye to most of it. I decided to stay on the side of caution, I did not take my big SLR camera which I would have done, I even checked my flag size because there was a restriction on that! I did not want to get there and be turned away for something silly.

Well there were people with SLR cameras with huge lenses, a Japanese man in front of me had a video camera and video recorded around 20 minutes of the game before the steward about 15 metres away told him to stop. Some guy had an actual tripod for his camera! I am actually glad the security did not follow/know the rules, things like “no noisemakers” but there was lots of people with horns and things which I like, it makes a better atmosphere.

Someone even brought in a suitcase on wheels!

Even staff breaking the rules, a few of them walking in in uniform wearing their credentials carrying large bags of food they have brought in!

The biggest joke was the no policing of the spectators. There were a group of young student-looking lads who were sitting in £10 seats in a completely different part of the ground for the first game, (Sir John Hall Stand I think) they must of seen a few empty seats in the row I was in. They moved into the seats, were not stopped, were not asked a thing, so got to see the Spain game from a great place for only £10. I paid £40/ticket for my seat, sitting about 5 or 6 seats away from someone who had paid £10…How does that work!?

To put the icing on the cake one of them was on their mobile phone jumping up and down at his other friends saying “come over here, there are a few seats over here!”.

All of this happening under the stewards nose, she was literally 3 or 4 metres from them and had been all game, so she knew that they were not their seats. What did she do? NOTHING!

This is not fair on the people who have paid a lot of money for category A i.e. the best seats, and it is not fair on the people who paid £10 who play by the rules and sit in their own seats.

There were plenty of event staff and security in the ground but they seemed to do nothing apart from watch the game and walk around every now and then doing nothing. The place were we were supposed to be sitting was sectioned off with a rope kind of thing, which was being opened and closed by that same steward who did not seem to do anything else.

Go to the Olympics for FREE – You do not need a ticket!

I did not realise this until on the way home, but we were never, at any point, asked for our tickets. We did not need to show them to anyone, they were not checked, we could have walked in without any tickets. We had to swap the original ones for the replacements, however that was outside the ground. I still have my ticket with the tearaway part attached, which it supposed to be torn off by staff.

I was thinking that maybe if I had not spoke to the woman outside telling me my seats were moved, I would have probably got the seat I had paid for, because nobody was checking tickets, and even if the woman at the rope checked mine she would see they were for those seats anyway!

My tips for going to the Olympic football at St. James’ Park, Newcastle (Warning, there may be a touch of irony beyond this point)

  • Don’t bother reading the rules, nobody cares about them.
  • If you have no money you could try and go, it doesn’t seem to be hard to get in, you get a pat down but nobody checked tickets.
  • Even if you pay £10 you could probably get your way into a good seat if you can see it’s empty.
  • The event staff seem like they don’t have a clue, you could probably convince them you are a player and get yourself on the pitch and have a decent run out.


I was going to go to another game, the quarter final is on Saturday, a game on Tuesday and Brazil on Wednesday, but after the fiasco I don’t think I will bother. It did not spoil the event, but it does leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

Original email confirmation of my tickets, 30th April 2012.

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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

  1. Shaun Said,

    Hi there Michael

    This happended to us today at the NZ v Brazil game at St. James. We had L3C tickets and were told the Olympic Family now had our seats and we had been moved to L2C! NO WAY! We sat in our original seats and stayed put. No one checked the tickets, no one checked our bags and no one body searched my partner as there were no female security staff! Terrorists are obviously not the fairer sex!
    Game was excellent, security and the ticket saga was terrible. This is the worse security I’ve seen at a high level sporting event. If you have the £40 tickets do not give them up!

    posted on Wednesday 1st August, 2012 at 19:26
  2. Michael Said,

    Hello Shaun,
    Thanks for letting me know.

    posted on Wednesday 1st August, 2012 at 23:27