According to reports, 20,000 FC Köln fans are planning to make the trip from Germany to London for Arsenal’s Europa League match on Thursday.
The Daily Mail report that despite only 3,000 away tickets being sold for the match, as many as 20,000 away fans plan to turn up in London anyway. Köln haven’t had a European campaign for 25 years and haven’t played a competitive match against Arsenal since 1971.
The two sides did meet in a couple of pre-season friendlies a few years ago, both of which Arsenal won. But the German club are much-improved since then and are ready for a European challenge.
Of course, most of the 20,000 fans apparently set to come to London aren’t planning to try and get into the game, they just want to soak up the atmosphere of a European night. However, some will likely try and get into the Arsenal end.
As a result, the Gunners have put a statement on their website saying: “Please note visiting supporters that purchase a ticket in the home end for this fixture are likely to be ejected from the stadium.
“We have made this decision following consultation with the police and to ensure we are in line with crowd segregation requirements.”
Away fans in Arsenal’s allocation is nothing new, last season I had a very passionate Ludogorets fan sitting behind me in the Arsenal end, chanting loudly whenever the away fans started up again.
Of course, that didn’t last very long as the Gunners put six past the team from Bulgaria. But if the result on the pitch had been different, things could have become a lot more tense. You can understand why the club want to avoid that if possible.