Over 20,000 Scottish football fans are expected to flock to the Algarve to see their team’s Euro 2016 qualification clash against Gibraltar, to take place on October 11 at the Algarve Stadium.
So says Hamish Husband, spokesperson for the Scottish football fans’ group Tartan Army, who is asking the national football association (SFA) for more tickets than the 7,000 that have been allocated.
Husband says that if results before the Gibraltar match go Scotland’s way, many more tickets will be needed to meet demand.
“I can see 20,000 Scots hitting the Algarve for this one. There are a unique set of circumstances. The game could have a massive bearing on helping us get to France for the Euro,” the spokesperson told The Scotsman.
He explained that the match will take place during the school mid-term holiday, making it “more attractive to many of us”.
“Another factor is the location – the Algarve is a popular holiday destination with many Scots,” Husband told the newspaper.
As The Scotsman points out, Gibraltar’s home matches have had mostly poor attendances. The exception was against Germany in June when 7,467 saw the world champions win 7-0.
But according to Husband, many more would have gone if more tickets were available.
“Germany fans won’t travel anywhere without tickets. If they got 6,000 for their game against Gibraltar, that’s how many would have gone, the spokesperson said.
“Our culture is different. Many more went to Dortmund and Dublin than were guaranteed seeing those games. The SFA look after us wonderfully and I’m sure they’ll do their best to get more tickets for this one.”
Scotland is currently placed third in Group D of the Euro 2016 qualification stage, three points behind Poland and two behind Germany.
Only the two best placed teams qualify for the final stage of the competition, while the third enters a play-off.
Before taking on Gibraltar, however, Scotland still has two matches to play against Georgia (September 4) and Germany (September 7).