Football fan who paid £1,000 for a ticket to the Euros final was then not allowed in to watch the match – because of hooligans bursting through the gates
A football fan who paid more than £1000 for a ticket to see England in the Euros final was stopped from watching the match over concerns about ticketless fans getting in.
Thomas Harold Watson, 25, had been over the moon to get hold of a ticket to watch England play in the Euro 2020 final.
The sales assistant said he arrived at the stadium just after kick-off but couldn't get into the stadium as the gates had been closed due to the number of ticketless fans that had forced their way in.
Thomas claims he had his valid ticket scanned on arrival but wasn’t allowed through the stadium doors – meaning he missed all but the last five minutes of the match.
Watson, from Luton, Bedfordshire, said: “I’d already had my ticket scanned, but I just wasn’t allowed in – it was very frustrating after paying over a thousand pounds for it.
“The police had formed a line at the top of the stairs to stop thugs that were barging through without a ticket – but even with mine in my hand I wasn’t allowed through.
“There were lots of people like me, who had real tickets, but it didn’t seem to matter – there was one guy I stood next to who had travelled from Los Angeles just to watch, and he didn’t get in either.
“What’s annoying is that a lot of the people who forced their way in did manage to watch the match, and yet I ended up sat outside listening to everyone cheering when we scored.
“It was so disappointing because I’d been so excited about it.”
‘I should have been there watching’
Thomas had managed to get hold of a genuine ticket from a re-seller for the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley stadium on Sunday.
He'd travelled down from Luton with his father, Simon Watson, to watch the long-awaited match between England and Italy.
The footy fan paid £1040 for the ticket - double the general sale price - but considered it a worthwhile investment to get to watch England play in a major final for the first time since the team won the World Cup in 1966.
When he and his dad arrived at 8:15, just a few minutes after kick-off, they were checked in but prevented from entering the stands due to police who had formed barriers at the top of the stairs to block fans from sneaking in without tickets.
Despite trying to show multiple stewards and police officers his ticket, Thomas claims he was dismissed and told he was not allowed entry to the match.
He said: “Me and my dad split up to try the different entrances, and by half time he had managed to get in – but by the time I ran to the entrance he’d been admitted through, they’d shut it off again.
“I could hear the cheers and singing when England scored, which made it worse because I should have been there watching.”
Just as Italy took the final penalty of the match, stewards opened the floodgates preparing for fans to depart.
That was when Thomas sprinted through the gate screaming “I have a ticket!” in the hope of getting just a glimpse of the match he paid over a thousand pounds to watch.
But he says what happened to him – and seemingly many other England fans around him – left him devastated, even though England weren’t victorious.
He said: “I’m just so disappointed.
“You hear about stuff like this but you never expect it to happen to you.
“I paid over a grand to watch the last 30 seconds of the match.”
FA to carry out ‘full review’
Thomas is now in the process of contacting the organisers in an attempt to get a refund for the original price of the ticket.
An FA spokesperson said: "We will carry out a full review and investigation into the events that took place at Wembley Stadium before and during the UEFA EURO 2020 Final.
"This will be done in collaboration with the Police, the Greater London Authority, the Safety Advisory Group and the tournament delivery stakeholders.
"Security and stewarding numbers for the UEFA EURO 2020 Final exceeded the requirements for the match and were greater than any other previous event at Wembley Stadium.
"However, the behaviour of the people who illegally forced their way into the stadium was unacceptable, dangerous and showed total disregard for the safety and security protocols in place.
"No steward or security staff should be subjected to this type of behaviour and we thank them for their support on the night.
"We also apologise to anyone at the match whose experience was affected by this unprecedented level of public disorder.
"We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to identify and take action against these people where possible."