Rangers fans descend on Seville as anticipation builds for Europa League final
In every street and on every corner in Seville there is a blue jersey as Rangers fans from across the globe descend on the beautiful Spanish city.
The train from Madrid on Monday had supporters from Australia and the USA arriving for the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday night.
Tens of thousands will be in the city on the day of the final hoping to be at least close to the action as the Ibrox side take part in their first European final in 14 years.
It will be the Gers’ 19th European game of the season, with the road to the final starting early last August with a Champions League qualifier against Malmo in Sweden.
The Light Blues dropped into the Europa League and lost their first two group matches under Steven Gerrard. But it all came good under his replacement Giovanni van Bronckhorst who oversaw thrilling wins against Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and RB Leipzig.
Kyle Carter, from Glasgow, arrived in Seville at 6am on Tuesday morning after a bus journey from Faro.
Rangers fans Kyle and Noah Carter in Seville (Ronnie Esplin/PA)
He said: “I try not to dream too much. The fact that we are here is unbelievable. The journey has been amazing and yes, we would like to go a step further, but I will try to enjoy it regardless. Come on the Rangers!”
Son Noah, 10, said: “I am very excited and I have high hopes. I think we will win 1-0.”
The Ibrox club have only won one European trophy, the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972, and Rangers are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that 3-2 win over Dinamo Moscow in Barcelona.
The Govan club are also celebrating their 150th anniversary. The signs are there, say some supporters.
Four fans sit outside a restaurant in the burning Seville sunshine, as the temperature moves into the 30s. “Any tickets mate,” says one, presumably mistaking my media accreditation for that of a UEFA official.
The scramble for tickets since the semi-final win over RB Leipzig has been crazy.
Officially, only around 9,500 Rangers fans have got tickets – albeit that figure could double – for a stadium which has a 42,000 capacity.
It is a ridiculously low stadium capacity for a final between two clubs with massive support, albeit Frankfurt fans are currently thinner on the ground.
Around 100,000 Rangers fans are expected to be in Seville on Wednesday and more than 80,000 will be ticketless.
As excitement builds by the hour, there are numerous stories about tickets that have been bought for thousands of pounds by fans desperate to witness history, they hope.
Eintracht Frankfurt supporters Erik and Janik, like most travelling fans, do not have a ticket but took the three-hour flight from Germany to go to the area set aside for supporters of the Bundesliga club.
Janik said: “Around 40 to 50,000 Eintracht fans will be here. I guess there are more Rangers fans expected but the Eintracht fans are way louder.”
Erik said: “Frankfurt will win 3-1 and (Ansgar) Knauff will be man of the match. The city will go crazy tomorrow.”
“Any tickets?” says a passing Rangers fan.
Whether he gets into the stadium or not, he does not have too long to wait.
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