NI fans of Spurs and Liverpool hoping for Champions League glory in Madrid

With four English teams going head-to-head for the top trophies in European football, the News Letter spoke to fans from the Province who will move heaven and earth to watch their teams write their names in the history books.

Saturday, 11th May 2019, 9:00 am
Spurs fan Robert Craig inside the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

For the first time ever both European cup finals – now known as the Champions League and Europa League – will be contested by four teams from the same country.

Robert Craig is going to Madrid to watch his beloved Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool on June 1.

The 36-year-old from Carrickfergus said: “My season ticket guarantees me a ticket for the final. We’ve been looking for flights – everything has gone up in price, it’s a bit of a nightmare but we’ll get there.”

Darren Graham (right) with 1st Larne Liverpool Supporters Club member Darren Sterret at Anfield for the game between Liverpool and Napoli in the Champions League

Of Wednesday’s night’s 95th minute win over Ajax, coming back from three goals down to reach the final, he said: “The second half was a bit mental. When the second goal went in I knew we would win it. Typical Spurs, they like to give you a heart attack.”

Robert, whose father first took him to see Spurs at Wembley, beating Arsenal 3-1 in the 1991 FA Cup semi final, added: “That first game was hard to top but I think Wednesday night might have done it.”

Darren Graham was at Anfield on Tuesday night to see Liverpool do the unthinkable and beat Barcelona 4-0 to claim at place in the final.

The 45-year-old, a member of 1st Larne Liverpool Supporters Club who has been following the Reds since 1979, said: “I’ve been to all the home games in the Champions League this season. I was in Istanbul in 2005 (when Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties to win the Champions League). The Barcelona game is up there with that. The place was electric.”

On the prospect of getting a ticket for the final he said: “We’ve got eight entries in the ballot for the 17,000 tickets Liverpool have been allocated, then we’ll have our own ballot. Last year, we got seven tickets out of eight for the final in Kyiv (Liverpool vs Real Madrid). It’s fingers crossed.”

Meanwhile Chelsea take on Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29, with the game expected to bring football rivalries in many NI offices to the fore. The News Letter will be no different with the match pitting Blues fan Rod McMurray against Gunners supporter Mark Rainey. Both men hope they’ll end up with a trip to Baku to report on the final.