Madrid will see an influx of English football fans this week as the Champions League final approaches.
On Saturday, Liverpool will take on Tottenham in the first all-English final since 2008.
There’s a reputation surrounding English supporters travelling abroad and this hasn’t been helped by the behaviour of Liverpool fans when they were in Barcelona at the start of May.
A shameful clip of a Liverpool supporter pushing a local man into a fountain led to an investigation by the Anfield club.
Liverpool and Tottenham were both allocated 17,000 tickets for the match.
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The Daily Mail are reporting that 70,000 fans are expected to travel to Madrid in total, including 20,000 without tickets.
And Spain are already putting security measures in place, with the New York Times reporting that the police operation will be ‘the biggest ever’ for a sporting event in Madrid.
Bar owners will close on Saturday
Concerns extend to bar owners in the Spanish capital, some of whom have already decided to close on Saturday to avoid any trouble.
The front cover of Monday’s Marca simply had the headline: ‘Fear’.
Bar owners and workers around the two designated fan zones - the Felipe II for Liverpool fans; the Plaza de Colon for Tottenham fans - are fearing the arrival of English ‘hooligans’.
There have been problems in the past with visiting fans for Real Madrid’s Euroleague basketball matches, which doesn’t attract nearly as many fans as the Champions League final will.
One bar owner told Marca, per the Daily Mail: “We are evaluating whether to close on Saturday and some colleagues in the area have already decided [to close].
“The security of the premises cannot be guaranteed. We already had problems with 50 or 100 Serbs who came to see the basketball.
“It closes and re-opens on Monday and we are cured in health.”
The Hard Rock Cafe near the Plaza de Colon will draft in additional security personnel just for the final.
“If we normally have one person from a private security firm, from Thursday to Sunday we will have eight,” they said.
“We are afraid that the same thing that happened in last season's semi-final between Liverpool and Roma. And that is why we have strengthened ourselves.”
There is a worry around the 20,000 fans that will not have tickets to the match.
Marca quoted one hotel manager in the Goya area as saying: “I think that if some 60,000 or 70,000 fans are going to come, the Felipe II square and the Plaza de Colon are very small.”
Yet, despite the fear of disorder, some bar owners will bring in extra supplies of beer for the English fans.
“Normally we use two barrels per week, but for Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week we have planned an order of three barrels each day so in total there will be nine,” one bar manager said.News Now - Sport News