Football fans were more divided than united when tickets to the showdown between English Premier League giants Manchester United and the A-League All Stars were snapped up within two minutes of going on sale to the public.
Supporters scrambled to secure their spot at ANZ Stadium for the July 20 clash, but the online rush meant many were placed in a queue to access the Ticketek website, which struggled under the heavy load, this morning.
They were greeted with a message that said: "A major event has gone on sale today. You are currently queued and will be automatically redirected to ticketek.com.au as customers leave the website."
A Football Federation Australia spokesman said today's public allocation of tickets, understood to be about 15,000, sold out within two minutes.
"It's been an amazing response from the Australian football community and this match unfortunately could have been sold out several times over, but we have had the opportunity to put this single match on," the spokesman said, adding that it was a great coup for Sydney to host the match.
Some football fans complained that the Ticketek website crashed when they attempted to pay, and vented their fury on Twitter and flooded Ticketek's Facebook page with negative comments.
"Was so excited for the man Utd game in Sydney. Thanks a lot. You just ruined my year," tweeted @sandeepn133.
Another person, Ben Nichols, wrote on Ticketek's Facebook page: "I want to lodge my absolute disgust and disappointment at trying to get tickets for the man utd game ...
"Thanks for ruining my day and my sons dreams [sic]."
Sarah Brooks wrote on Facebook that she was "appalled at your website and the way it has failed to supply the purchase of Manchester United football tickets".
"To be able to world class elite football team like that of Manchester United play in Australia, you should have done your research and been able to handle the demand. It was a disgrace. I hope in the future you are not permitted to have the rights to sale for such a big event."
Eileen Yong wrote: "Not impressed at all with your ticket sales for Man United v A-League All Star. Please explain why I can't even get 1 ticket at 9am? How many tickets actually went on sale today? What an absolute joke your website is."
Meantime, some lucky fans gleefully tweeted that they would be in the stands to see the football superstars, including Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Nani.
The FFA spokesman said pre-sale tickets went on sale yesterday for fans who were registered with the FFA. He said some tickets would go back on sale in late April, and fans could sign up to a waiting list on the FFA website.
More than 25 tickets to the match were already selling on eBay this morning, including two category A tickets with a bid of $A2200 at 10.30am.
On its Facebook page, Ticketek said it was aware that scalpers were selling tickets online.
"We are aware of the tickets being sold on auction sites but we can't guarantee these tickets are actually legitimate unless the exact seat number and section numbers can be identified. We continue to work with the promoters and the venue to do everything we can," the post said.
The FFA spokesman said scalped tickets bought on sites like eBay could be cancelled.
A Ticketek spokeswoman said she could not comment on how many people visited the Ticketek website this morning or the problems reported by visitors, other than to say that a waiting message was displayed when high volumes of people were visiting the website.
The match is expected to generate an even greater level of hype than the 2007 visit of David Beckham's LA Galaxy, who played Sydney FC in front of more than 80,000 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Several A-League players, including Brett Emerton and Archie Thompson, are likely to be unavailable for the fixture as it clashes with the Socceroos' East Asian Cup campaign in South Korea.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell trumpeted the coup as a win for his state over Victoria and Queensland and claimed an approximate $A3 million investment would provide an economic boost of around $A16 million.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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