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Scotland Was Gripped By the World's Biggest Ticket Rush Since The Beatles
Scotland was gripped by the world's biggest ticket rush since the Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl.

Scotland was gripped by the world's biggest ticket rush since the Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl.

Whether you were walking the streets or surfing the net the only chat was about getting to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville. The Celtic fans' ever-more elaborate efforts to grab big-match briefs became almost as entertaining as the thrilling final itself.

Now mailsport weekly has discovered one man who got into the Estadio Olimpico WITHOUT a ticket.

All Eric Hughes possessed was a brass neck and, crucially, a hand-held video camera.

And that's all he needed to bluff his way into the stadium for his club's biggest game in 33 years. But his story doesn't end there.

By the end of that night Eric had rubbed shoulders with Celtic director Dermot Desmond, met TV presenters Chick Young and Jane Lewis and even got his hands on the Man of the Match cheque in UEFA's official press room.

He earned himself the nickname The Blagger Of Seville after trying anything and everything to get into the showpiece and through it all he kept his camera rolling.

 Eric, 40, from Barrhead, Renfrewshire, has released his unique video diary of that unforgettable day in Seville.

He explained: 'I went out to Spain with no intention of making a video and seemingly no hope of getting into the game.

'I wanted to be part of the whole experience, enjoy the atmosphere and get some memories down on video to look back on in years to come.

'But when I finally got home and watched everything I'd done I realised I had something quite unique on tape.

'At first I made a few copies to give away to fellow Celtic fans who appear in the film and the feedback from them was brilliant. People have told me they loved it because it really captured the atmosphere of that day in Seville.

'I've since sold copies to other Celtic fans and I've had inquiries from the USA, Australia and South Africa. I've had lots of nice e-mails from people who enjoyed it.

'The recurring theme has been that I must have some nerve to have done what I did.'

Eric revealed his blagging on the trip started long before he reached the gates of the stadium.

He travelled to Spain with his big brother Tommy and their pal Jim Downie. And the trio talked their way into the Business Class lounge at Glasgow Airport before their flight to London.

At Heathrow they persuaded a guy they'd met on the flight to give them a lift to their hotel a couple of miles from the terminal.

But the serious blagging started when they reached Seville. After hiring a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of the city centre they caught the eye of a camera crew and ended up being featured on a BBC news programme.

As Eric mixed with his fellow fans around the cathedral they spotted a hapless bootlegger who'd made commemorative t-shirts with the name of the wrong stadium printed on the front.

But Eric is not for giving up so easily. First he negotiates his way through the first security cordon just after the game has kicked off by claiming he only wants to film the stadium.

Greeting every security guard with a cheery 'Hola Boss' he gets more knockbacks than a drunk at the dancing. Yet still he presses on.

His moment finally comes when police and officials have their attention diverted for a split second. He nips over a turnstile ... and he's in.

Eric enjoyed the frenzied celebrations for Henrik Larsson's two goals and endured the heartache of Porto's extra-time winner. But his blagging continued after the final whistle.

He set off towards the official lounges where he met Celtic's major shareholder Desmond.

Bizarrely, his film shows him interviewing Chick Young and the Daily Record's Jim Traynor for their opinions on the game before heading for the after-match press conference. The final shot is of him posing with the huge cardboard Man of the Match cheque awarded to Porto's Deco.

Eric revealed he got used to hair-raising journeys in his days as a truck driver transporting UN aid to war-torn Yugoslavia.

'I've produced my film on DVD as well but I can't churn out thousands of copies. I'm hoping a production company will want to take on the rights to distribute it properly.

'When I started making this film I didn't have any intention of selling it. I just wanted to beable to look back and say I was there.

'But I suppose it shows you can achieve anything in life if you keep trying no matter how many knockbacks you get and how many hurdles are put in your way.

'Hopefully it will give other Celtic fans a chuckle to see a Seville video filmed purely from a punter's perspective.'

THE Blagger of Seville's story is a cracking example of fans living on their wits abroad but can YOU do better?

Posted by voc1967 on Monday 12 August 2019 - 19:16:38 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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