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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Fans queue all day for City tickets
Cardiff City fans queueing for tickets
View from the queue: four hours down, three hours to go
Thousands of Cardiff City fans endured huge delays as they queued for tickets to the club's Division Two play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.

Many supporters queued for seven hours and more throughout Thursday as tickets went on sale to season-ticket holders and registered club members.

The club later apologised for the hold-ups, which it blamed on thousands of ineligible people trying to jump the queue.

Both the club telephone and internet sales operations collapsed because so many people tried to get their hands on tickets.

The first batch of Cardiff's estimated 32,000 allocation went on sale at Ninian Park at 0900 GMT on Thursday to club season ticket holders, and it is estimated that 10,000 were snapped up on the first day.

In this day and age we shouldn't have to do this
Brian Guy, who queued for 7 hours
Play-off fever has gripped Cardiff after the club made it through to a home town final against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, 25 May.

But the problems led to calls for the club to improve its sales operation.

Leighton Andrews, the Rhondda assembly member and club season-ticket holder, said: "If Cardiff is going to be the big club we all want it to be, they need new systems to cope with the demand."

Mr Andrews queued for three hours on Thursday, but had to give up his place within sight of the ticket office because he had an engagement.

Cardiff City v QPR tickets
Tickets finally in hand: what the wait was all about
He later failed to get through on both the phone and the internet.

Mr Andrews, who the previous day put down a statement of opinion in the assembly congratulating the club on making the final, said he was delighted that the club had now given season-ticket holders more time to buy.

Officials shut the gates to Ninian Park at about midday to stop more fans coming in.

We didn't cater for the tens of thousands of people ... trying to queue jump in front of all eligible supporters.
Cardiff City website
Fan Brian Guy, 56, from Llandaff North, Cardiff, said he had lost an entire day's pay.

Mr Guy, who was in the queue for more than seven hours, said: "The situation is ridiculous. In this day and age we shouldn't have to do this.

Another fan, John Lancey, aged 67, and from Treorchy, Rhondda, said, "There's only one door to go in to the office. It's crazy to organise it like this."

The first fan in the queue was Andy French-Simonds, who arrived at 0200. He got his ticket at 0900, but supporters who arrived after 0700 suffered the longest wait.

Brian Guy
Window cleaner Brian Guy says he lost a day's pay
Ninian Park stadium manager Wayne Nash said the problem had been caused by the number of people who turned up.

Mr Nash said there had been "lots of little niggles" and some people became irate because of the length of the queue. Part of the problem had also been that some fans wanted to sit in particular seats in the Millennium Stadium, and the club was not able to satisfy them all.

Cardiff City issued an apology on its official website. The club said: "We catered for every season ticket holder and member being in a position to purchase or order their ticket today.

John Lancey
John Lancey travelled from the Rhondda to queue for a day
"What we didn't cater for were the tens of thousands of people outside this category trying to queue jump in front of all eligible supporters."

Season ticket holders and members will now be able to buy tickets from the ground on Friday, 16 May and Sunday 18, May. They can buy on Saturday, 17 May - but only on the phone, because of parking restrictions for the FA Cup final.

Registered fans can buy a maximum of two tickets each from Monday, 19 May. Any remaining tickets will go on general sale on a date still to be announced.

The sizeable fan bases of Cardiff and QPR mean the 72,500-capacity Millennium Stadium is expected to be a near sell-out.

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