I am an avid Newcastle United fan, I bet some of you already knew that. I have so many happy and sad stories from being a Newcastle United fan, but this one, is my saddest stories.

It was started in a sunny day of 1997, when Dad (now he had passed away) took me to one of the sport shops in Semarang. A little me –at that time I  studied in junior high school– stopped and stared at a clothes rack full of colourful fake jerseys. AC Milan, Sampdoria, Manchester United, Fiorentina, etc.

“You can pick the one that you like, son.” Dad smiled and rubbed my hair. Yay! I moved to the rack vigorously, choosing the jerseys. It was the time when I started playing football with my friends, and having the (fake) jersey, is a must.

I sorted the jerseys. AC Milan and Manchester United? Umm, no, too mainstream. Sampdoria? I don’t really like the badge, man with cigar? No. Fiorentina? Seriously, you want to play football with purple shirt? Umm, no. My next stop was a black and white shirt. At first glance, I thought it was Juventus jersey, but it was different, and none of my friends has jersey like this. I think it was cool to be different than others.

“Can I have this one, Dad?” I begged. It was Newcastle United jersey.

Newcastle 1997 Jersey

Of course it was slightly different from the image above, yes, because it was a counterfeit jersey. It didn’t have ‘adidas’ embroidery under the collar (lately, I put an ‘adidas’ iron-on sticker on it), it didn’t have the ‘Newcastle United’ print in the back, and the collar was too tight and almost killed myself when I use this jersey. It only had the Newcastle United badge (two sea horses flanked a black and white crest with castle and flag above it) –which I think it was the coolest logo until now (seriously, you put crane and devil to your football badge?)–, and the Newcastle Brown Ale logo on its chest. Thank God, that Dad didn’t know that it was an alcohol brand (My Dad is a devout moslem), so he still bought me the jersey.

Then I started to fall in love with Newcastle United because of their non mainstream jersey. Shallow? Yes. But it’s love. My first love, so you can’t blame it on me.

As a Newcastle United fan, my biggest childhood dream was visiting England to watch them play.

Later on, I started to idolise one of the Newcastle United players at that time, you know who, the mighty Alan Shearer. I bought many posters of him and filled my room’s wall with them. For your information, I never idolise a single person, as crazy as I idolise Alan Shearer. I hope it’s not too gay, but, I even wrote his name everywhere. Sorry, Justin Bieber.

Alan-Shearer

Alan Shearer, my lord.

They said that, “You can change your girlfriend, but not your favourite football team.”. Sadly, it’s true. Even though, I feel that I have fallen in love with the wrong team (they were almost relegated last season, and be at the bottom of the table in the beginning of  this season), but I can’t change it. I’m madly in love with this team. The one you love, is the one who hurts you the most.


Now, I turned out as a travel blogger. Writing about my travel experience almost every week, and still in love with the (un)promising team, Newcastle United. Still, my dream has not changed, watching them play with my own eyes.

I keep writing and dreaming, until one night, in the end of June, one of my lovely readers asked me, “Where’s your dream destination?”

“Of course, England!” I answered spontaneously.

London

“Just choose the date, and I will try my best to fly you to England.” She said. ” Insha Allah, if God will, it will be your fortune.”.

Wow! That was one in a million opportunities, because it was not cheap and easy to go to England from Indonesia. So I browsed the date, searched when Newcastle United play, and decided to watch them play against Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 22nd.

Why Manchester United? Well, in Indonesia, 6 of 10 football lovers are Manchester United fans, and it’s been another dream for every football lovers in the world to come to Old Trafford, feel the ambience and the magic of Theatre of Dreams.

My friend, Alex, told me, “You will change your love to Manchester United, especially after you feel the magic atmosphere of Old Trafford.”

Oh yeah, can I? Interesting.

Then I picked up my departure date, it was two days before the match between Manchester United and Newcastle United.

“Okay.” Said my kind reader. A few days later, I had the ticket in my hand.


My next question was, how to get the football match ticket?

I asked my friend who lives in UK, and he said, “It’s kinda difficult to get Manchester United ticket, especially if you want to sit inside the away tribune. Maybe you have to try to buy from the ticket reseller.”

Umm, okay.”

“But make sure you pick the legit one.”

With lack of understanding of what ‘legit’ means, I Googled the information about “How to buy Manchester United match ticket”. And I got this:

Football Ticket Net

The first result that came was http://www.footballticketnet.com, with some sweet words: VIP Hospitality Tickets – Secure Booking – 100% Order Guarantee.

100% Order Guarantee. Interesting. So I checked their website.

Football Ticket Net Scam

The website is so clean. They have the image slideshow from the big teams, contact number from several countries, their services, their promises, and they also have a powerful tagline “Guarantee Your Satisfaction!”.

Some of their promises, are:

  • 100% Order Guarantee
  • Cheap & Competitive Prices
  • Secure & Safe Transaction
  • Valid & Authentic Tickets
  • Delivery on Time to Any Address
  • Skilled Customer Service Team

At that time, I have compared FootballTicketNet with some similar websites, but my thought was, “Umm no, I think FootballTicketNet is better. I guess I can rely FootballTicketNet to realise my childhood dream.”.

Then I sent some inquiry email to them, asked some questions about how to get the ticket from FootballTicketNet. I was so satisfied at how they response the email, it was fast and clear. On July 27, I finally bought the ticket for £127.00. For me, it was not a cheap price (the normal price was around £30.00), especially if I converted into Rupiah, which is Rp2,5Million only for a single football ticket. It is like a month salary for Indonesian civil servant, excluding their incentives.

Football Ticket Net Scam

No changes, cancellations, or refunds can be made. Okay, I hoped that this site is as ‘legit’ as I think, so I can write this lifetime experience on my blog.


On August 20, I already got email from FootballTicketNet, saying that my ticket will be delivered to the reception of my hotel on Friday, August 21, 2015, until 23.00.

“Nice, I think I don’t need to worry about it.”.

Football Ticket Net Scam

I was in Manchester on August 22 –after flew more than 7000 miles from Jakarta to Manchester with 15 hours of flight– finally I’m here, In England, ready to watch the match. I walked hastily from Manchester Piccadilly Station to Hatters Hostel at Hilton Chambers, a place where I would stay in Manchester, also a place where FootballTicketNet would deliver my ticket.

I opened the hostel’s door vigorously, climbed up the stair to the second floor, put my huge backpack on the floor, and greeted the cute receptionist there. After some cheesy lines, I threw my main question, “Do you have any package for me, from FootballTicketNet?”

She left for a moment in order to look for the package, before came back with confusing face, “We don’t have any package for Mr. M Arif Rahman.” She shook her head. “Sorry.”

And that was when my saddest story started.


It was 10 in the morning, when I was almost crying in the hostel lobby. I tried to make a logical act, contacting FootballTicketNet, in order to find out where my ticket is.

First, I sent an email to their emergency email (yes, they gave me the address just in case something happened to my ticket, and it did happen), and I got the fast response, but from the automatic machine.

Football Ticket Net Scam

After few minutes without any replies, my next step was contacting them directly through their line (+44-2036954911), and a woman named Linda answered my phone. I explained her about my issue, and she told me that my ticket had already delivered to my hostel.

“But the fact is, I haven’t received my ticket yet.” I insisted.

“Wait a moment.” Then, Linda told me that the courier would come to the hostel, to check that the ticket had delivered properly last night. “He will arrive in one hour. I will call you for any updates.”


An hour later. Still, no one came to the hostel to deliver my ticket, nor the incoming call from FootballTicketNet. I was going back and forth to the receptionist, asked her to do double checking, or maybe triple checking her mailbox, to find my ticket.

“Nothing.” She answered while some people wearing Manchester United jersey ware passing the lobby to go to the stadium, to watch the match. Uh, how I wish that I can join them.

I made a phone call to FootballTicketNet again, using my last phone balance. The answer was still the same, “Just wait, he will come.”

30 minutes later, I contacted them again. This time, I asked the receptionist to make a call for me, using their number. The answer was surprising. FootballTicketNet insisted that they had delivered my ticket at 10 PM last night, and a woman named Loisa had signed the delivery receipt, but Hatters Hostel said that they had not received the ticket, and the most shocking fact was, there is no one named Loisa there.

No one named Loisa is working in Hatters Hostel.

“She was so mean in the phone.” The receptionist commented about her call with FootballTicketNet, “She kept yelling, and saying bad things to me.”

“And how about my ticket?” I asked anxiously, because the match will be started at 12.45, and I had not got the ticket.

She only shook her head. Drowned in despair, I sent them another email, and Vera replied it minutes later.

Football Ticket Net Scam


At 12.30, the only thing I could do was crying. I cried manly in silence, until the receptionist saw me. I wiped my tears, and told her about my story, about the love of my life –Newcastle United, about my 7000 miles journey from Jakarta to Manchester, and about the 15 hours of flight I had been through, only to watch football match, where my favourite team would be playing against Manchester United, the world’s most favourite team.

That was a thing that a real man will do anything to get, which a woman probably will not get it.

The next thing happened was, she started to cry, probably because of my story, or maybe my miserable face. I knew that she really wanted to help, but she did not know how. After I lost my Dad, this was my biggest heartbreak.

I wished that I could fly to the stadium, sit in the rooftop, and watch the match. But what I did at that time was, sending another email to FootballTicketNet, asking for their responsibility.

But it was useless.

Football Ticket Net Scam

Football Ticket Net Scam

Again, I tried to call them again using the hostel’s phone. It was my last call to them for my entire life. I asked about where my ticket is, where the courier now is, what the name of the courier is, also what the phone number of the courier is. Strangely, they didn’t have the answers. They only said that I had to wait patiently for the courier, and they would contact me when the courier has arrived. Well, for me, I did not think that it was a British attitude, because they left their responsibility on me.

I put down the phone, and looked at the receptionist. “Do you know any sport bar around here?” My last plan popped up. ” I want to watch the match there.”

“Just two blocks from here, Tib Street Tavern, you can watch the match there.”

I ran as quickly as possible, at that time, you could see my transformation to Usain Bolt.


The match itself was good, it was one of the best performances from Newcastle United this season, and the good debut match from Florian Thauvin, especially when he jinked against Luke Shaw. Before the half time, I got another email from FootballTicketNet.

And I replied cynically.

Football Ticket Net Scam

Unfortunately, until the match was over, there was no reply, nor a phone call from FootballTicketNet, a company that bragged themselves as “The Biggest Ticket Reseller in Europe”.

Football Ticket Net Scam

But I am okay, at least for now.

I really enjoyed the match.

I really watched football in Manchester.

I really watched Newcastle United played in England.

Inside a local club, where everyone supports Manchester United.

Tib Street Tavern


EPILOGUE

Three days after the match, I received another emails from Football Ticket Net, expressing their apology. But where were they when I needed them the most?

Football Ticket Net Scam

Football Ticket Net Scam

They gave me two options to heal my heartbreak, one was full refund, and the other was giving me a ticket for another match. Because, I do not live in England, so I do not have any choice, but asked for full refund.

Football Ticket Net Scam

For me, the biggest concern was not the refund, but the opportunity cost that I had lost when I couldn’t see that match.

Years of waiting,

thousand miles of journey,

hours of flight,

excitement to wait.

They were all wasted.

Going to England, for common Indonesian people like me, is a rare chance, also one in a million opportunity, and FootballTicketNet had ruined my childhood dream trip. Thank you so much for that.

Now, I wish that I can visit England again. Of course to watch Newcastle United play, like I did on August 28 at St. James Park. At that time, I did not buy the ticket from FootballTicketNet, The Biggest Ticket Reseller in Europe, who had taught me another lesson about heartbreak, and left a pain in my heart.

Lesson learned: Be careful when you buy football ticket from FootballTicketNet, or simply just find another seller.

Howay The Lads!

Today, until I post this article, I have not heard any news about my ticket nor the courier who supposedly delivered my ticket. Is he still in the hospital? I don’t know, but God knows what really happened that day.

Yes, we draw against Manchester United in Old Trafford.

Oh, why do you have to be a heartbreaker
Is it a lesson that I never knew 
(Dionne Warwick)
Advertisements