The scramble for Seville started for Rangers fans yesterday as they began making plans to get to the Europa League final.
And Ibrox boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst joked the Light Blues’ legions might swim to the Spanish hotspot after John Lundstram fired them into dreamland against RB Leipzig on Thursday night.
Rangers supporters are prepared to break the bank to cheer on their heroes against Eintracht Frankfurt on May 18.
It is believed as many as 100,000 will travel to Seville. The club will receive an official allocation of about 10,000 tickets, with 4000 given free by tournament organizers Uefa to reward fans for sticking with football during the pandemic.
However, Rangers have 45,000 season ticket holders and Uefa have also axed all corporate hospitality inside the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, which has a capacity of just 40,000.
Diehards have started marking out their route to Andalucia and as well as booking flights and rooms, scores of supporters swamped Scottish-based travel agents with requests.
The demand has been so high that firms Sport Options and Barrhead Travel are looking at chartering plans to get fans to Rangers’ first European final since they lost 2-0 to Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup in Manchester in 2008.
Barrhead Travel’s Jacqueline Dobson said: “We’re looking at what we can do for our customers and one possibility is chartering flights. We are pursuing this as an option.”
Savvy supporters have researched routes to Spain, with some opting to fly via another continent to keep costs down. Fans have arranged to fly to Marrakesh in Morocco before catching a second flight to Seville.
Thousands more are making the trip via Faro in Portugal’s Algarve then making their way to Spain by land.
Others are going via Bristol, flying from England’s south-west to Madrid before getting a train to Seville. Popular routes include flights to Malaga and Alicante, with Spanish-based Brits running buses to Seville.
Restaurant boss Satty Singh plans to temporarily shut his Mister Singh’s India in Glasgow’s Elderslie Street before heading to Seville.
Satty, whose restaurant is popular with Rangers players, said: “The whole family is desperate to go, as are the staff, so there will be nobody to look after the restaurant.”
Dad Bobby Lang, 34, is due to be in Benidorm on a family holiday during the week of the match but said it was an opportunity he and stepson Ryan Boyce, 16, could not pass up.
Bobby, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, said: “This is bigger than Manchester in 2008. The wee man has seen every game this season and I wouldn’t let him miss this for anything. We’ll get a bus to Seville or drive there but my wife has given us strict instructions that we return home for our 9am flight on the Thursday.
“We’ll try all we can to get tickets – especially one for Ryan. Failing that, we will be in the fan zones.”
Rangers’ boss van Bronckhorst said: “Everywhere we go, we have very loyal supporters and there were many in Leipzig and Dortmund. It doesn’t matter how many hours they have to fly, or to walk, or to go by bike – maybe some will swim.
“We will be well represented in the stadium and also in the city of Seville.
“We have great support everywhere we go and they always behave really well. That’s important for the club as we want the image in Europe that we can behave ourselves in every city.”
However, the chance to see Rangers make history doesn’t come cheap. Football travel firm Sport Options is putting together a package but warned in an email: “Prices will be crazy. Please remember, it’s the airlines, not us.”
Airlines whose services weren’t fully booked, hiked prices yesterday.
Supporters were also trying to buy match tickets on resale websites and were paying thousands for seats that cost sellers £33. Dozens of briefs were snapped up from the Ticombo website, where sellers need to verify their identity before selling, with prices starting at about £1500 per ticket.
Return flights from Glasgow to Seville with easyJet – leaving the day before the game and returning the day after – are priced at £1494.
Hotels in Seville for the night of the game were being listed on website hotels.com at £800. But other accommodation options in the city shot up yesterday to about £1500.
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