Date:Friday September 22 2006
With tickets for Blackburn Rovers' UEFA Cup next week free to season ticket holders and reasonably priced to others Chairman John Williams is hoping the crowd can make the difference.
Should Rovers come through the tie with Salzburg, which is finely poised after Rovers returned from Austria with a 2-2 draw, they would advance into the group stages.
With attendances not always high at the best of times, European turnouts are notoriously low. These extra European games with obvious further expenses are the cause of this, which is fully understandable, so to counter this, tickets have been reasonably priced. Williams, when speaking to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph would say:
"Fans always want us in Europe, but they don't always turn out in force.
"But it's basically a lifestyle choice. It's an extra game and fans cannot afford it. We know that.
"We have planned against that problem. Against Salzburg, it is free for season ticket holders, so that gives us a start of 13,000 for the game. Then we have made ticket prices reasonable.
"It would be tremendous if there was a big crowd and a good atmosphere. We want to be successful in Europe; it's one of the areas we are striving upon."
With Rovers in with a great chance of advancing, despite Salzburg's late, late equaliser in the first leg the fans could make a difference to Rovers winning or losing this tie. With season ticket holders getting in for free, other tickets are priced at £15 for adults, with children being charged £5.
Although victory, and progression through to the knockout stages (eight groups of five teams who each face each other in a one off game, not home and away as with the Champions League groups) would prove financially rewarding Williams would be quick to point out that glory, and not just financially are what the club are looking for:
"There's nothing in it financially until you reach the last 32, after the group stages.
"It's essentially then you make a bit of money, but it's limited compared to the Champions League.
"But for us it's not about money, it is about the prestige of playing in Europe. It's a great opportunity for us."
European nights don't come around every week do they (which, although people love to see, some will be happy to hear due to the extra money involved!) so hopefully a crowd can turn out in force and take advantage of the bargain night out and cheer on the boys as they aim to achieve the low scoring draw, or better still victory that would be needed to see Rovers advance.
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Date:Friday September 22 2006
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