I watched the recent Milan Derby at the Giuseppe Meazza. It was an unforgettable experienced that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I went to watch it with my brother and cousins by the way. However, I experienced some ‘inconvenient’ things. I wanna share it with you so you can avoid the same mistake that I did. It’s kinda long and tedious but, trust me, it’s worth the read…
Pre-match in US
Now, first of all, the ‘inconvenient’ thing had to do with ticketing. Like some of you here who had been to a match in the Giuseppe Meazza, I approached Ken to get my tickets. Ken is a friend of some members in this forum and he’s helped some of us get tickets to the stadium. I asked him way in advance (months) before the match to get the tickets.
As per normal procedures, he asked for our names, birthdates and copies of our passports. Just before we travelled to Milano, Ken e-mailed me that he has secured 5 tickets for the match and it’s going to cost us just 80 Euros each for a ticket in the but he didn’t tell me which section it was. We exchanged number and set up a day to meet.
Pre-match, in Milan
I touched down on Milano on the 21st of December and I immediately gave Ken a call. Then, he told me that something screwed up and that he couldn’t get the tickets for me. I was shocked and disappointed. Ken told me to go to the Box Office store in the Feltrinelli bookshop to get the tickets. The Box Office store is just another outlet that officially sells Inter/Milan tickets and it costs 160 Euros each (I checked it myself) but when I went there, it was already sold out. The lady at the counter advised me to go to Banca Populare di Milano but, as expected, they sold out too.
So, I SMS-ed Ken and told him about this problem. I head back to the hotel as soon as possible and asked the concierge to find 3 tickets for me (My 2 cousins suddenly backed out). I stayed in Park Hyatt Milano by the way. The hotel told me that they would find the tickets from the black market and that it’s going to cost me 180 Euros each for a ticket that would normally costs 40 Euros. He also told me that once I made the order, I can’t cancel it. As I was extremely desperate, I bought 3 tickets from them.
That night, however, Ken called me and said that he has managed to secure 4 tickets from the Box Office store for me. I told him that I already bought the tickets from the hotel. He replied and said that I should have told him first that I am buying the tickets from another source. I answered back by saying that Ken should have told me that he is going to get some tickets for me. Remember, when I first called him as soon as I touched down in Milan, he told me that he couldn’t secure the tickets for me. He replied that he tried to do so but his cell was out of battery. Ken also told me that this is the best ticket available, that I would sit under Moratti and that I would get special access.
After that, I tried to sell the tickets I got from the hotel and Ken tried to sell the tickets he bought for me too but we couldn’t get any buyer. So, in the end, I decided to help Ken and brought my reluctant cousins and uncle to the game. In total we have 7 tickets; the 3 tickets that I bought from the hotel and the 4 tickets Ken bought for me. So I divided our group to this: me, my brother & 2 of my cousins are going to use the tickets from Ken and my dad & my uncles are going to use the tickets from the hotel.
On Saturday night, a day before the match, Ken gave me a text message, asking me to be there at the Meazza at 12:00, three hours before the match. He wouldn’t give me the reason when I ask him why did I need to be there so early, but I still comply to his order. Ken also told me that only one person needed to be there early, but I decided to tag one of my cousins along.
Outside the Meazza
When we got there, Ken introduced us to a guy called Ivan, who is supposedly the guy who would give us the tickets. Now, Ivan then told us that the 4 guys using the ticket from Ken had to be there as early as possible. This is contradictory from what Ken said when he told me that only one of us needs to be there early. So I called my cousin and my brother and ask them to rush to the stadium. When I said to Ivan & Ken to give me the tickets and me & my group will enter separately, he told us that it is impossible because they have to enter together.
I started to smell something fishy and I asked Ken & Ivan again about this tickets, seats and special access and they still said “Don’t worry” etc etc. By the way, as I was waiting for my group to arrive, I met Erik and his friend. We took some pictures together. As soon as my group arrived, I informed Ken & Ivan but they told me that we are waiting for another group and that we have to enter together. As soon as this group arrived, we proceeded to enter the stadium and that is where the con occurs…
Ivan told me to give him the payment and then went on his separate ways and said that he had to collect the tickets. Stupid and excited that I was, I gave him the money. As soon as he arrived, it turned out exactly how I feared it would be: We would be entering the gates using season tickets. Ivan had some connection and we were able to cut the queue and use season tickets to enter the stadium, even though those season tickets did not belong to us. We never got to hold the season tickets as Ivan stood by the turnstiles and used them one by one to let us in. As soon as we climbed the stairs, he told us to wait and he went to some section. We lost Ken during our way up by the way.
Then, once he came out, he conveniently told us to go to the Orange 2nd section and he gave us some direction. I told him that that’s bullshit because I’ve never been to the Giuseppe Meazza and that it’s such a huge stadium so I wouldn’t be able to find my way. He told me that he couldn’t escort us because he had to do some choreography stuff. He said that if we wanted him to escort us, he could only bring us to the Curva Nord. I rejected that offer as I know how hostile the Curva Nord could be and my brother & cousins were neutral so they would not sing or cheer for Inter.
So we went our separate ways and tried to reach this 2nd Orange section using the direction Ivan gave us but on the way, we were blocked by a gate and the steward refused to let us in unless we showed them our tickets. I was desperate then. I felt so mad & sad because an Interista had conned us and cheated us of our 640 Euros! But I wanted to watch the match so bad so I brought my cousins & brother to the Curva Nord.
The Curva Nord, as expected, was a bloody mess. Seat numbers do not matter there and people just stood wherever the f*ck they want. We tried to squeeze in but we couldn’t get a good spot and we can sense that some of them were p!ssed as we were blocking their view. So we got out again, and this time, we saw some group talking to the steward blocking one of the gates. It was the gate west of the Curva Nord. After some talking, the steward opened the gate and all of us rushed in.
In the end, we managed to find a spot to stand. It was not some seats but it was in between the last seat of the section and a railing. Here's a picture so you can get a good idea of where we were located. We were fortunate that the Interisti who sat in the official seats in front of us did not mind the four of us who were standing behind them. The steward was kind too in letting us stood there unofficially. He could have easily chased us out and we wouldn’t be able to watch the game.
So, in the end, the conclusion and morale of the story actually depends on you. Do you believe in me or Ken/Ivan? Was Ivan really telling the truth when he gave us the directions? Maybe it was just my fault that I couldn’t find my super-duper-best-seats-in-the-whole-stadium. Maybe it was just my fault that I couldn’t sit below Moratti and got all the special access that Ken & Ivan promised me.
Speaking of Ken by the way, he seemed to be a good guy and it remains unknown to me whether he conned us or whether Ken was also cheated by Ivan. But one thing remains clear to me. Plan your trip ahead in time, preferably one or two months in advance. If you are staying at a decent hotel, ask their concierge to get the tickets for you. They should be able to find some if you ask them early and even if your concierge is unable to do so, you should buy from official sources like Banca Populare di Milano or the Box Office or through the Internet.
In the end, even though it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life, it was marred by this incident. I was cheated of my money, but at least I enjoyed a Derby win on my first visit to Europe and I have learnt my lesson. In your trips there, I hope you guys have the same luck that I have but avoid my mistakes.